Summary: Joshua dared to be a great leader for God. The crossing of the Jordan teaches very relevant advice on how we can also go out on a limb for Jesus. And there is joy in daring to pursue your call.
Please e-mail me with any comments or if you use any part of this at your church at Mail4ChrisR@aol.com. I would love to hear about it. God Bless! - Chris
Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor for lack of ideas. Walt also went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland.
Leo Tolstoy, author of War and Peace, flunked out of college. He was described as “both unable and unwilling to learn.”
Michael Jordan, perhaps the greatest basketball player of all time, did not make his high school basketball team his sophomore year.
Beethoven’s teacher called him hopeless as a composer.
Winston Churchill failed the sixth grade. He did not become Prime Minister until he was 62. His greatest contributions came when he was a “senior citizen.”
Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he finally succeeded.
In our passage today we see the results of persistence. It must have been an exciting day for the Israelites to finally see what had been promised to them through their fathers generations before. All that they had suffered in the dessert and wilderness. All that they had been through in Egypt and the exile led by Moses. And finally the day had come when Joshua with the help of God, was going to lead them into the Promise Land. Finally going to move out of the desert and across the river Jordan into Canaan. They had been discouraged. But they had been waiting for this day for a long, long time.
Joshua had been waiting longer than most, he was around 80 years old. And the Jewish anticipation of this moment must have been tremendous. God had made that covenant with Abraham 500 years earlier. Imagine making a deal now and thinking that the results would not come for 500 years. Imagine how Moses must have felt being able to see the Promise Land and everything he had worked for but knowing that God was not going to allow him to cross that river. Seems a bit discouraging to me. And the Israelites had since rejected God several times. But they always came back to be faithful to Him through good leadership and loyalty. And now, finally, success.
Here in Joshua chapter 3 we see that God is keeping His end of the deal. God sees that the people had been loyal and have been courageous and daring to come as far as they had come. But first Joshua tells the people to get prepared. A couple weeks back we talked about how we get prepared. We put on the full armor of God. We get prepared to do what God has called us to do.
Look at verse 5: Joshua told the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you."
You see before we can do what God has called us to do we should be assured. We should consecrate ourselves. For the Hebrews this meant that they would wash their clothes and fast from sexual activity – washing and fasting. To prepare for God’s calling we should clean our bodies and our minds from the filth and dirt that we have accumulated over the years. And we should pray and fast. All of this is about assurance. We must know for sure that we have heard God’s voice. We must know for sure that God is the one giving us direction and guidance.
And when we are prepared and ready to step out for God we can also be sure that God will do amazing things among us. Just as He did for Joshua and the Israelites. And when we do step out for God it is exciting. It is amazing. It can be the most joyous, wonderful thing that you have ever done. The joy in going out on a limb for Christ.
One of the joys of going out on a limb for Christ is that it magnifies faith.
Look at verse 7: And the LORD said to Joshua, "Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses.
We will be exalted. Our faith will be magnified. Another way to translate this passage is to replace the word exalt with the word magnify. “Today I will being to magnify you.” Going out on a limb causes our faith to be held in a greater respect. By whom? Perhaps by other. Perhaps others will see how you step out for Christ and they will respect you for it. But more importantly when going out on a limb for God, it will make your faith grow – for yourself. It increases the significance of your faith to you.
When taking a risk for God you show Him trust and loyalty. And He will give you praise for what you have done, as promised in 1 Corinthians 4.