Summary: Joshua #3
GOT ANY RIVERS?
Life is continually presenting us with new experiences and fresh challenges. For some of us, these new experiences and fresh challenges are easy to identify. Some in our midst are preparing for marriage. Others are expecting their first child; some have recently added a child/children into their family. Maybe the challenge for you is being in a new grade in school, adjusting to new friends, a new teacher, a new class, maybe even a new school. Maybe some of you are making adjustments in your work schedule. Certainly we as a church are making adjustments in working with a new pastor.
New challenges, new experiences, they are all around us
Now, maybe some of you are questioning that.
Life, to you, is one big and boring rut. Well, it’s easy to get into a rut, isn’t it? We can wear that rut so deep that it’s almost impossible to get out.
Chet Unruh: "A rut is a grave with the ends kicked out."
Another authority states that by their mid-30s, most people have stopped acquiring new skills and new attitudes in any aspect of their lives. By mid-30s?!
Think about it, those of us over 30, how long has it been since you changed your attitudes or habits---spiritually, personally, politically, socially?
It’s easy for us to get into a rut. How sad it is when we are so much in a rut that we lose our enthusiasm for discovery and adventure!
"Well," you say. "That’s just the way I am. You can’t change me. Besides, I don’t have any new challenges facing me." I would like to direct your attention to Joshua 3:4.
Regardless of the challenges you face, no matter how deep a rut you might be in, you’ll have to admit that each day brings a totally new set of circumstances and experiences. In a very real sense,
"WE HAVE NEVER BEEN THIS WAY BEFORE."
From this moment on, we are walking on new ground together. This is not only true for each and every one of us personally, but it is also true collectively for us as a church body. We have never passed this way before! The way before us is altogether new. And whenever you enter a new relationship or begin a new experience there are always problems involved---questions & doubts flood our minds. That not too uncommon. I’m sure that many of the people of Israel had doubts and questions when they were asked to cross the Jordan River into Canaan.
Upon what did they rely as they prepared for the crossing of the Jordan River? Upon what can we rely as we face new challenges and obstacles before us?
What promises of God can we rely on?
WE HAVE THE PROMISE OF GOD’S PRESENCE AND THE PROMISE OF GOD’S POWER!
As we look forward to the new adventures that life brings us together:
I. WE CAN BE CONFIDENT BECAUSE WE HAVE THE PROMISE OF GOD’S PRESENCE (vv. 1-11)
Now, let’s take a look at Joshua 3... read v. 1
The trip from Shittim to the banks of the Jordan River was an easy one---just a few miles over smooth ground. So we can assume that the Israelites probably finished their hike before noon and had begun setting up camp on the banks of the Jordan. The Jordan River consisted not only the regular riverbed, but also an area called the Zor which was a desolate gray soil unfit for habitation or cultivation because of the constant flooding had eroded the topsoil. There was also another area called the Ghor which was fertile and green just beyond the Zor. It was here on the Ghor, close to the river’s edge (which now covered the middle area because it was flood time) (3:15) that the Israelites camped.
Here the people camped in traditional orderliness, tribe by tribe, along the raging Jordan. And they camped there for 3 days, watching the river race by at flood stage.
Pretend with me that you are one of those Israelites, camped for 3 days along the flooded Jordan. What must be going through your mind? Does it seem like an impossibility that you will be able to cross this river in front of you? How was everyone going to get across? The elderly, the children, everyone! Maybe there would be some question as to why Joshua had led you here, to cross the Jordan in flood stage. Does Joshua know what he’s doing? Does God know what He’s doing here?
Yes, He does. God had a plan. We know the plan now, but they didn’t then. God would reveal the steps they must take to cross the impossible Jordan, and the success that was theirs if they followed Him. This chapter would become a key passage for the people and nation of Israel. And it can become a key passage for us today as well. But I wonder, how many of us get to the edge of the river and never cross it? How many of you can see the promises of God but never obtain them?