Summary: Mature Christians prepare themselves as did Joshua to go forward in confidence when the Lord signals us that it is time to move on from where we are and to proceed toward that which is far better.
ADVANCING WITH CONFIDENCE TO THAT PROMISED INHERITANCE
“Attention!” “Right Face!” “Company!” “Forward March!” A familiar command to veteran soldiers! How we hated to get up in the morning, but once we assembled and our company commander shouted those instructions we soon forgot about getting up or anything else in our past as we marched in formation toward our objective for that day.
Although those who were drafted into the armed forces had no choice but to do as we were ordered, we who make up The Company of the Committed had a choice and we chose to join the ranks of Christian “soldiers” marching upward to Zion, the beautiful City of God, where we shall receive our promised inheritance!
Of all the commands rendered to that massive body of rescued Israelites, as they set out on their long and arduous journey to the Promised Land, was God’s directive delivered to them by Moses: “And the Lord said unto Moses, ‘Why dost thou cry out to me? Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward!’” (KJV)
Folks, as we advance in years, we sometimes have to be prodded to get up, move about, and go on with our lives - even though some of you may have gone about as far as you want to!
Yet, the Lord God, in spite of daily distractions, detours and hindrances, instructs His people to set their sights on their promised inheritance and advance toward it with confidence - the key to their level of confidence being the degree of acceptance and adherence to God’s command (Joshua1:9):
“Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified. Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you whithersoever you go!” Thank God! “I won’t have to cross Jordan alone!”
If there ever was a time when the people of God needed to be reassured, it was at that very moment when it seemed like that last straw on the camel’s back.
After all that these people had gone through, wouldn’t you know it? They arrived at the Jordan during the time of year when the river was at flood stage!
So, they had to wait awhile – something most of us love to do . . . not until the river subsided - it was not going to anytime soon. They had to wait until they gained confidence – not so much in themselves or in their leaders but in God. Would they be willing to give God their vote of confidence?
A crucial question we all must ask ourselves: “Am I ready and willing to give God my vote of confidence?” When God’s people get ready, God always acts – Joshua 3:2-5 . . .
Ordinarily when we think of an army advancing into unknown territory, not to mention crossing uncharted waters, we think of placing confidence in military might. Not so when the Lord our God is in command! God would go first, but the Israelites were to demonstrate 4 attitudes of confidence as they advanced. They were to:
Advance with an attitude of confidence: “God is in charge”. The significance of the symbol of God’s Presence the Ark going before them do not underestimate. Recall Jesus’ assurance to his disciples: I will go before you into Galilee . . . Paul’s optimistic declaration: “If God be for us, who can be against us?”
If anyone ever asks you, “Who goes there?” say, “God, and we His people!” Joshua felt so confident in God that he did not hesitate to issue the command they all had been waiting for: “Tell the people to get up and go with God as their Guide!”
Advance with reverence. Resist the temptation to become lax . . . casual . . . careless about your relationship to God - as is evidenced on so many fronts in our culture by flippant attitudes - demonstrated by so many that it makes me dizzy. It has become so easy for “uncommitted” Christians to lose their sense of reverence. Hopefully, when we all come to the water’s edges in our lives, we will have regained a higher degree of reverence.
Advance with caution. There have been times in our journey of life when we have come to crossroads and had to decide which way to go; and so often we have had to go where we had never been before. Those days are not over!
Yet to come are experiences different from any we have ever encountered. It’s in times like these that we must proceed with caution and keep the “ark” in view . . . stay close to God . . . saturate minds with positive thoughts - “God be with me” . . . “Jesus Savior Pilot Me” . . . “Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me.”