Summary: Journey with the Nation of Israel to see how God taught His beloved people to follow Him in obedience.
Today we are celebrating several departures – we have a number of people finishing their educations and moving on to other fields where they will be able to pursue other ministry opportunities: not to mention, this will be our last week in this building – next week we will be at our new location.
Many times departures bring sorrow instead of celebration – it is very normal to miss the people and the places God has used in our lives, but departures bring incredible transitions to our lives that God can use in incredible ways!
Departures are necessary in order for God to move us and place us exactly where He wants us to be, and though they can be difficult, they are incredibly beneficial!
When we according to Proverbs 3:5-6 5Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Today I would like to look at an incredible departure in the Word of God, where God led His people to the place that He had prepared for them: very similar to what we are looking for!
Joshua 3:1-6 1And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over. 2And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host; 3And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it. 4Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore. 5And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you. 6And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people.
This is truly an incredible passage of Scripture – laying out for us what it really looks like to FOLLOW GOD with everything that is in us!
Departure time is at hand! Time to leave the wilderness and go into the Promised Land!
However, there are quite a few difficult things that accompany this incredible opportunity!
A) TIME OF TRANSITION
Moses is DEAD. All the old timers are DEAD (Except Joshua and Caleb)
Joshua 1:1-3 1Now 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, 2Moses 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. 3Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.
God has passed His power from Moses onto Joshua – to lead His people into the promised land.
Remember, this isn’t the first time they have been here. CHECK OUT LAST TIME:
Numbers 14:1-4 1And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. 2And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! 3And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? 4And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.
Of course, this isn’t the response God was looking for, so He passes judgment on them, and tells them that they will not enter into the land because of their lack of FAITH and MURMURING.
Then, have you ever noticed how they respond to God’s judgement?
Numbers 14:40-45 40And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain, saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the LORD hath promised: for we have sinned. 41And Moses said, Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the LORD? but it shall not prosper. 42Go not up, for the LORD is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies. 43For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and ye shall fall by the sword: because ye are turned away from the LORD, therefore the LORD will not be with you. 44But they presumed to go up unto the hill top: nevertheless the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and Moses, departed not out of the camp. 45Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, even unto Hormah.