Summary: This message will prepare a Church to conquer new spiritual territory.
Get Ready! Joshua 1:1-11
Pastor Bob Hunter
Springwater Church of the Nazarene
One of the most intriguing individuals in the O.T. was a man named Joshua. A whole book was named after him, a lot of scholars believe the book to be his own personal account of what historically happened with Israel. Joshua’s story is colorful and exciting. So I’m going to try to bring out some of this excitement. But not only is it exciting it’s relevant. The message is fresh and it speaks to us where we live. I believe this material is going to mold us and shape us. So I’m going to read to you the first chapter of this great story and then we’re going to discuss it. (Read Joshua Ch. 1)
This colorful story began in the book of Genesis with Abraham who was the father of Israel. God promised Abraham 3 things, he promised him real estate, he promised him a big family, and finally he promised him wealth. The real estate was in a place called Canaan, the big family was also known as the people of Israel, the wealth God promised took the form of agricultural production-God said, “Flowing with Milk and Honey.” God made a covenant with Israel to deliver on these promises in exchange for loving obedience. Unfortunately, Israel’s love for God lacked generational consistency. When we meet up with them in Joshua Ch. 1. They are at one of their lowest points. Tired and weary, they’ve lived on the back side of a desert for 40 years... wandering. God promised to lead them back into the land of their fathers. But not without loving obedience. They are nicely positioned to embrace this promise, but is there enough faith? The Israelites just can’t seem to muster up the energy or the courage to go over the top. So when we meet up with them in Ch. 1 their just kinda sitting around feeling sorry for themselves. And then drops the bombshell, Moses the appointed leader, the one God used to deliver them from bondage, died. The leader they trusted, loved and revered passed away. Not only were they displaced, but now in grief. If ever there was a group of folks stuck in the mud, it was Israel. They had come so close, but were yet so far away. They were stalled on the road to greatness. Have you ever been there? The road to greatness is sometimes long & lonely. And yes it has it’s share of delays. In what way was Israel responsible for not entering in sooner? What was it that slowed them down to a complete stall? What were their mistakes? They made three mistakes that slowed them down that I want you to be aware of...
1.) They idolized the past. The people of Israel, idolized the leadership of Moses. After all he brought them out from under the hand of Pharoah. God did miraculous things through Moses for Israel. He performed wonders, he parted the red sea, struck the rock, led them through the desert...Moses was a phenomenal leader. They put him up on a peda stool. In their minds, he was irreplacible He was the one and only. In fact, listen to what they were saying about Moses...Duet. 34:10 ff.
Moses couldn’t be replaced, they idolized, and idealized him, which made it extremely difficult for Joshua. They just couldn’t let go of the way it used to be under Moses. In fact, it was Moses that insisted Joshua succeed him as leader, not the people of Israel. Joshua became a leader because Moses, and because of God. The people of Israel were so dysfunctional at the time, they didn’t know were to turn. They idolized the past.
2.) They compromised the present. They not only idolized the past, but they compromised the present. You know how they compromised the present? disobedience. Moses while he was yet alive predicted that this would happen, in Duet 31: 27. We don’t know how widespread it was, but we do know God was not that happy with Israel. Their disobedience to God was always at issue, it’s the foremost reason they remained in the desert for so long.
And isn’t that true even today? Disobedience leads to stagnation and paralysis. When we disobey God we invite circumstances that are lot less than pleasant. When we rebel against God we compromise our quality of life. That’s what Israel did, they compromised the present through their own acts of disobedience.
3.) They discounted the future. After 40 long years, the people of Israel settled on the wrong side of the river. They were unwilling take a risk. They not only compromised the present they grew content with it. Their plans were to stay put and survive. They heard and understood the promises of God, but they just couldn’t see the value of crossing over and possessing it. They discounted the future. They reasoned it away. They thought to themselves, this is as good as it gets, lets just settle right here.