Summary: 1. Follow God's footsteps. 2. Bear God's burdens 3. Highlight God's help.
Guidelines for a Great Future
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - May 5, 2013
*When the Children of Israel were living in Egypt, they were forced into brutal slavery by the Pharaohs. But God heard the cries of His people, and in Exodus 3&4, the Lord appeared to Moses in a burning bush. There God called Moses to lead His people out of slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land.
*When the Lord called Moses, He knew that Pharaoh would resist letting the people go. And God promised to send terrible judgments on Egypt. In Exodus 3:18-20, the Lord said to Moses:
18. . . "You shall come, you and the elders of Israel, to the king of Egypt; and you shall say to him, 'The Lord God of the Hebrews has met with us; and now, please, let us go three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.'
19. I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not even by a mighty hand.
20. So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go.
*Those wonders came in the form of 10 terrible plagues that God sent on Egypt, ending with the death of the firstborn of all men & beasts, except those protected by the blood of the Passover.
*Pharaoh then let God’s people go, but quickly changed his mind, and planned to crush them when they were trapped against the Red Sea. But God miraculously parted the sea so that His people could safely cross over. Pharaoh’s army was then crushed by the collapsing wall of water that had been held back by the Lord.
*God then gave His Law to the Israelites, and led them right up to the edge of the Promised Land. But tragically, most of those people refused to trust the Lord's ability to give them the Promised Land. So they spent the next 40 years wandering in the wilderness. By today's Scripture all of that generation has died except for Joshua and Caleb. But a new generation was ready to move forward into the Promised Land. With this background in mind, let's begin by reading Joshua 3:1-13.
*It's graduation time, and that's a big, big deal. We honor our graduates today! Graduating from high school or college is surely one of life's greatest milestones.
*But what about after graduation? How can we keep moving forward in life?
-We need some guidance, and the best place to get it is the Word of God.
-In this Scripture, the Lord gives us 3 guidelines for a great future.
1. First of all: Follow God's footsteps.
*This is the wisdom we can find in Joshua 3:2-4:
2. So it was, after three days, that the officers went through the camp;
3. and they commanded the people, saying, "When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, the Levites, bearing it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it.
4. Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before.''
*"You have not passed this way before." That's easy to see at graduation time. But in a sense, it's true for all of us every day. Every day is a brand new day. And we have no idea what the day will hold for us. How are we going to know where to go, and what to do? -- The answer is: Follow the Lord.
*You see, when the Children of Israel were told to follow the Ark in vs. 2, they weren't just following a box. Of course the Ark was a box about 2 feet high, 2 feet wide and 4 feet long. It was covered with gold, with two angels facing each other on the top. And it looked something like this: [Ark PIC]
*There were some amazing things inside that Ark: The Ten Commandments written on stone by the finger of God, Aaron's rod that miraculously sprouted buds, blossoms and ripe almonds overnight, and a golden pot of Manna.
*Manna, of course, was the miraculous food provided by the Lord to feed the Children of Israel on their 40-year journey in the wilderness. Psalm 78:23-25 explains:
23. Yet He (i.e. the Lord) had commanded the clouds above, And opened the doors of heaven,
24. Had rained down manna on them to eat, And given them of the bread of heaven.