Summary: Encouragement for uncertain futures.
How many wish from time to time that life would just stand still? The majority of us have a really hard time with change. We feel safe with the familiar, comfortable with those things that we are used to. A new job may bring higher pay and better benefits, but it also comes with new people, new procedures, a new commute, or even a new state. And definitely new anxieties. Yet there is one thing that remains constantly threaded throughout all of our lives – change. As a traditional Jewish adage observes: “Would that life were like a shadow cast by a wall or a tree, but it is like the shadow of a bird in flight”. How can we become accustomed to and even succeed in a life that seems to be prone to transition after transition? As we look at the Lord’s words to Joshua – a new leader for a new land – we can find some solid advice and encouragement for handling the uncertainties of our own futures.
I. A review of some background information.
A. For forty years, Israel has grown accustomed to one leader.
1. The heard the anger in his voice but felt his compassion shining through.
2. From Pharaoh’s court to the Red Sea to the banks of the Jordan, his weathered face guided them.
3. Moses was their shepherd, their law giver, and their mediator.
4. Moses dies although he remained strong to the very end.
B. Joshua faced with filling some pretty big sandals.
1. How could Joshua compare? Sure he was Moses’ right hand man, but his voice was unfamiliar, his style unknown.
2. Was he really up to the task? The Lord thought so and that was all that mattered.
II. Six principles that will help us rise to the challenge of change.
A. Learn to face reality.
1. As the Lord spoke to Joshua after Moses’ death, He told him, “Moses died, but I did not.”
2. Though your leader has died, your mission has only begun.
3. Joshua was no longer a servant of Moses; he was now the servant of God.
4. The Israelites were commissioned to follow Joshua just as they had Moses.
B. Learn to move on.
1. All that they had yearned for during the past forty years was about to become a reality.
2. No more wandering no more waiting, now was the time to enter the Promised Land and Joshua now assumes the position to lead the people in.
3. The time had come to move on beyond their past and claim the promises God had made to them.
C. Learn not to be afraid.
1. Joshua need not worry that he was adequate for the task, God would support him.
2. God guaranteed Joshua three things.
a. His person: I will be with you.
b. His power: I will not fail you.
c. His presence: I will not forsake you.
3. Whoever stood against Joshua stood against God.
4. Joshua’s leadership was not established on the basis of his resume but on the guarantee of God.
D. Learn to stand tall.
1. If God says something once, it is important, if He says it twice it is significant but if He says it three times in a mere three verses you better act on it.
2. The Lord told Joshua to be strong and courageous in verses 6, 7, and 9.
3. The Lord moved the Israelites to pledge their obedience to their new leader to reinforce His encouragement to Joshua.
4. Joshua and the Israelite people could stand tall with confidence because their courage was based on the promises of God.
5. The people were about to enter Canaan as strangers and remain as owners.
E. Learn to stay focused.
1. The Israelites were under new leadership but not under new authority.
2. They were not to forget the past, but to build on it.
3. Moses led them to Canaan and now Joshua would lead them through the conquest, but God’s Word would always remain constant.
4. As Israel’s leader, Joshua needs to know God and His will in order to lead the people.
5. Joshua’s heart for God was crucial.
6. If Joshua led the people God’s way they would have success where ever they went.
F. Learn to enjoy what God is doing.
1. Once the mission was accomplished the celebration could begin.
2. God’s intention was to reward His people with blessings.
3. The blessings were not be a result of their natural talents or their good works, but because they were His children.
III. A few thoughts to ponder.
A. What is man’s purpose on this earth?
1. Many Christians might answer to go to church and be a good person.
2. Our purpose for being is to worship and glorify God.