Summary: God’s Word to the Graduate is intended to be an encouragement to graduating seniors who are embarking upon college, career, military service or marriage.
Graduating seniors, you are coming to the most intense crossroads of your life. You will become almost intoxicated by the newly acquired freedoms, and you will become frantic as you realize that you are basically on your own. I believe one of the most applicable scripture texts for your situation is found in the first chapter of Joshua. Moses had just passed from the scene. He had an illustrious ministry in leading the Israelites out of the land of bondage, and through 40 years of trials and blessings in the wilderness: Trials, because Israel was often rebellious and faithless; but blessed, because the Heavenly Father always met their needs.
Because of Moses’ volatile temper, his patience ran out when God told him to speak to the rock and water would come forth. He struck it instead, which led to his physical death. Not only did he disobey the Father, but he destroyed one of God’s pictorials of Christ’s second advent. The first occasion when God told Moses to strike the rock, this pictured Christ’s first advent -- He was bruised for our iniquities. The second command -- "speak to the rock" was to be God’s type of Christ’s second advent -- ruling an earth filled with peace because Satan has been bound.
But Moses blew it. Therefore, neither he, nor any of the Israelites above the age of 20, were permitted to cross over into the promise land, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb.
Joshua, who had been mentored and groomed by Moses, was being raised up to take Moses’ place in the leadership of Israel. The first chapter of Joshua was filled with God’s wonderful promises to the new leader and to the remaining Israelites. But there was also a stern warning to them if they failed to "be strong and of a good courage". I want to submit five thoughts to the graduates today, and to anyone who is embarking upon a major life-change.
I. THE PAST IS PAST 1:2 "Moses, my servant is dead. . ." The old era had passed. Moses had lived out his days. A new leader was on the scene, and it was the responsibility of the Israelites to transfer their alligience to Joshua. He was now in the driver’s seat.
Graduates, high school days were fun, but they are over. Carefree days of eating from Momma’s table were great, but they’re basically over. Groundings from using the car, and restrictions to your rooms for failure to make good grades are no longer going to be a part of your life. You will be off in college, on your own, and frankly, you will look back longingly, many times, wishing for the safety and security of home. But it’s over! Get over it! Moses is dead!
This same principle applies in every facet of life. Churches have terrible problems forgetting the past. My old former church in Waxahachie Texas is leaving their grand old church building, one they had occupied for over 40 years, to go to a temporary space, while they await the construction of their new building in another part of town. It will be a sad, tearful goodbye. There were lots of memories in that old building. But it’s been sold! It’s in their past! They had better get over it, and look with joy to what God has for them in the new location.
Remember Lot’s wife? God told her husband to get the family and get out of Sodom and Gomorrah because judgement was coming. He commanded them to not look back. But Lot’s wife did, and turned to a pillar of salt. Do not make the mistake of living in the past. It will kill your open doors and turn your future into an old block of salt.
II. THE TRANSITION IS TURBULENT: 1:2
". . .arise, go over this Jordan. . ." Certain times of the year, the Jordan was swollen out of her banks. The waters were treacherous during those times. God does not always lead us to places that are convenient or comfortable. Sometimes He leads us through troubled waters.
It is not going to be easy to be a kid on a major university campus, standing in endless lines to sign up for courses, which are already becoming overcrowded. It is not going to be pleasant standing in line in the college bookstore to buy books, which cost three times what you will ever get back from them (or seemingly out of them) It won’t be pleasant moving into a cramped little dorm room and find out your roommate is the son or daughter of a wiccan priest.
But "cross over this Jordan"! God has a wonderful plan for your life. There are blessings -- open doors -- joyful occasions on the horizon. But the trip there may not be tranquil.