6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: A sermon preached in first service as senior pastor at a church where I had been assistant

The Duke of Cambridge said in the late 1800’s, “Any change, at any time, for any reason, is to be deplored.” Change is one of those things that none of us are really comfortable with. Many people, if they had their choice, would choose to keep everything the same. It’s comfortable. It gives us a sense of security. Some people’s favorite place in the road is in the ruts. Some of us probably feel like the guy bought a new radio, brought it home, placed it on the refrigerator, plugged it in, turned it to a station coming out of Nashville that was home of the Grand Ole Opry, and then pulled all the knobs off. He had decided what he wanted and he didn’t ever see himself wanting to change. Change is something a lot of people dread.

But in the game of life, change is also something that is inevitable. Times change. Fashion changes. Prices change. Technology changes. People change. Change happens. It’s part of life. And today, here at First Wesleyan Church, we are going through a time of change. If most of us could have our way, things would have stayed just the way they were. We were comfortable with the way things were. We felt secure with the way things have been. But things change. And right now we’re experiencing the inevitable.

And as I have been thinking and praying about what to share on my first Sunday morning as senior pastor, I have been drawn to a passage of Scripture where we find some people in a very similar situation as ours. And I think that there are some encouragements that we can gain from this passage of Scripture. Why don’t we turn there…

Joshua 1:1-9… Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

I think from this passage of Scripture there are four things that you and I can be encouraged with this morning. Let me share them with you right now.

I. God Still Has A Purpose

The first thing that I think we here are First Wesleyan Church can be encouraged by is the fact that God still has a purpose. God spoke to Joshua and He said, “Moses is dead; now you get up and cross over the Jordan and go into the land that I have given you.” His directions were clear. “Joshua, you are to lead my people into the land of Canaan.” Now, you’ll notice that God didn’t go moping around the golden streets of heaven with no idea of what to do now that Moses was gone. He wasn’t disheartened because He had been counting upon Moses to lead the children of Israel into the promised land. He wasn’t perplexed because Moses was dead and now He was out of ideas. No, for you see, God’s purpose for His people was not contingent upon Moses’ leadership. God’s plan for His people was not reliant upon Moses’ presence. For it wasn’t Moses’ vision. It wasn’t Moses’ idea. It wasn’t Moses’ purpose. It was God’s purpose. God was the one who was leading the children of Israel into Canaan. God was the one who had envisioned the Hebrews conquering and dwelling in the land of mild and honey. It was God’s purpose.

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