Summary: As we study the early part of the book of Joshua today - I want us each to consider what it means for us to cross over ‘our’ spiritual Jordan AND go ALL the way with God (Real People - True Stories - part six)
"Joshua, Going All The Way...."
Real People - TRUE Stories Part 6
TEXT: JOSHUA 1-4
I am sure that most of us have heard the expression that Almost only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades. To almost hit your target with a grenade or to almost get a ringer, sometimes is good enough, sometimes it is all you need, to win.
But this "almost rule", is not universal and it does not apply in all areas. A lot of times almost is not good enough, frequently almost is not all we need -- many times almost means we lose.
What good is it, to almost hit a home run, to almost hit a 3 pointer at the buzzer; to almost win the lottery; to almost get off at the right exit? AND, what wife would accept her husbands explanation that he was almost faithful? Or what police officer would accept the excuse, "well, I was almost doing the speed limit.
How about last years Super Bowl - the final minutes of the game - the Titans trying desperately to come back against the Rams. Final play of the game...knees down, arms stretching, almost - just inches from the end zone.... And I can’t help mentioning one of the ultimate ‘almosts’ - The Mets - Red Sox World Series several years ago - what good would it have ben for Bill Buckner to say, "I almost fielded that ground ball."
Sometimes almost is not good enough, sometimes it means, you fail the class, miss the bus, get a ticket or have to go back to the bench.
Look how many stories in the Bible would have been different if the people only went half way, and thought that almost was good enough.
David would have almost fought Goliath;
Noah would have almost build the ark;
Abraham would have almost went to Mt. Moriah with Isaac;
Moses would have almost led the Israelites out of Egypt;
Ezra would have almost rebuild the temple;
John the Baptist would have almost prepared the way...
Listen; If these men only went part way, it would not have been enough, and more then likely their names would be as familiar to us as; (SHAMMUA, SHAPHAT, IGAL, PALTI, GADDIEL, GADDI, AMMIEL, SETHUR, NAHBI, GEUEL; 10 SPIES WHO ALMOST BROUGHT BACK A GOOD REPORT).
As the book of Joshua opens up God’s people the Israelites are almost to the promise land. They are at the very edge and the promise land lies west, just across the Jordan River.
The energy & excitement that was in the air had to be incredible - there Joshua and all of Israel were, camped on the east side of the Jordan, just waiting to enter the land that was promised to their fore-fathers, nearly 700 years ago. What a journey it was, that God’s people took over those years.
It all started somewhere around 2000 BC, when Abraham was called by God to father a nation of people who would worship the One True God. God promised Abraham that this nation would be a great nation and would possess a great land, "The Promise Land."
Their journeys would eventually take them to Egypt, where they would spend 430 years, nearly all of which was as slaves, building cities for the pharaohs. Their time in Egypt was not pleasant, Exodus 1:14 reads; "They were ruthless with the Israelites, forcing them to make bricks and mortar and to work long hours in the fields..."
But God did not forget them during their hardships, their cries were heard by the Mighty One, and He sent them a deliverer. AND Moses through he power of God performed great miracles and won the Israelites freedom, bringing the powerful Egyptian Empire to her knees.
But even though the Israelites saw God’s mighty hand, they rejected God shortly after their deliverance refusing to go into the promise land as God commanded - and as a result were forced to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. BUT now, the entire generation that had rejected God, except for Caleb and Joshua were now dead, and the new generation was only a river away from entering the promise land, they were almost there. But almost was not good enough, they needed to go all the way.
QUESTION; HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED WHY, Christianity has so little impact on the world. Have you ever wondered why the 50 or so percent of Americans who say they attend church weekly - don’t seem to be making that much of a difference in our culture?
Part of the answer to that question is found in the fact that many recent studies have shown that the values and ethics of Christians are not very different from those in the world.
Question; Is that good news? Does that mean that our world is rapidly becoming more moral? I think we all know the answer to that. What the closing of the gap simply means is this, far too many Christians can lie, abuse & neglect their families emotionally and physically, steal, drink, cheat, commit sexual immorality, watch pornography ..etc with the best of ‘heathen.’