Summary: A Sermon for a church standing on the brink of a new era.
“Looking Back and Moving Forward” – Josh 1:1-11
Gladstone Baptist Church – 19/11/06 am
S1 - Standing on the brink of something new is scary – there is uncertainty & fear.
Have you ever been faced with something new and been scared? I can remember when Deanna and I were thinking about moving down to Tasmania after we were newly married. It seemed such a long way away from family. We didn’t know anyone down there and it was a bit daunting. We were uncertain and a bit fearful. Maybe you have faced a similar situation – standing on the brink of a major change – watching a new day as it is dawning. Maybe it was a job change or a move or about to get married – that is scary isn’t it!!! What ever your experience, whenever you stand on the brink of something new, there is excitement and adrenaline as well as uncertainty and fear.
If you have your Bibles open, I want you to open them up to Joshua 1. I want to look at a time when the people of Israel stood on the brink of something new. The people had been wandering around in the desert for 40 years under the leadership of Moses. But Moses had just died. Now don’t stretch the analogy of this sermon too far here. We are losing our leader, but can I assure you that Roger is not dead – He’s just been away using up holidays. Some of you are going to go and tell him that I was planning his funeral here today aren’t you – you are going to get me in all sorts of trouble. So don’t take the analogy too far. Our church is also 40 years old – the same time the Israelites were wandering around in the desert. Now again – don’t stretch the analogy too far – I definitely don’t think our church has been in a desert for the last 40 years. You only have to understand how God has blessed this place and used it for his glory to know that the last 40 years haven’t been desert years. So don’t push the analogy, but having said this, there are some incredible lessons here for us to learn about standing on the edge of something new, so let’s read
1 After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Great Sea on the west. 5 No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
6 “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
10 So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: 11 “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your supplies ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the LORD your God is giving you for your own.’”
S2 - We look ahead into the unknown, we look back into the known. We can look back and see how God has provided in the past. Over the years. Over the last 12 months. – Reports & highlights from the past year.
Standing on the edge of something new is always scary. When we try to peer into the future, it is UNKNOWN. We wish we had a crystal ball, but I think sometimes that would just scare us more. Looking forward is SCARY – far more frightening than looking backwards. When we look back we see our history – where we have come from – it is KNOWN AND SAFE. The Past is comfortable. For the Israelites the past 40 years was spent in the desert. Though the desert wasn’t a pleasant place it was a familiar and SAFE PLACE for the people. God had provided for them in incredible ways. Food to eat – the manna and quails, water to drink. He’d given them shoes that never wore out. If they thought about it, they could have listed so many things to praise God for over the past 40 years - incredible things he had done for them. He had rescued them from Egypt – the plagues, the red sea experience, the protection from Pharaoh’s army. He’d provided wonderful leadership. He’d protected them from attack. He’d led them by pillars of fire and cloud. He’d fellowshipped with them & given them the law.