Summary: The waters don’t part until we actually step into them. This sermon encourages us to use our heads but step out where God calls us, be bold and take Him at His word
Moving on with God- the next step in ‘stepping out’
Felt the Lord direct me to this, this week. Was confirmed as I sat with someone in my office and they preached this!
Are you aware:
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. Bill Burnett on www.sermoncentral.com
FEAR OR FAITH? – the books of Numbers and Joshua
Or maybe I should call this section- ‘determination or defeat’
- but, basically, I’m looking at God’s people previously & presently in this story
Fear - Numbers
This in not the first time they were told to go into ‘the promised land’. To ‘claim their dreams’: ‘the land of milk and honey’
- that’s what this represents. (No comment on ‘the land of Israel’, now!)
o AM talking about spiritual principles, not just modern day hype
The call… challenge… promise… was made
- 500 years earlier to Abraham (took God up on it)
- 40 years earlier to Moses’ people
o “Is a land of milk and honey. Grapes like apples!”
o “But the people are giants. Land will devour us. Can’t do it. Better to go back to Egypt”
o (only Moses, Joshua and Caleb were for it)
they looked at the situation with human eyes
• obstacles may be big, but God is bigger!
As a result- they spent 40 years milling around in the desert. Grumbling. In defeat. Looking back. In unbelief, doubt, ‘analysis paralysis’
- yes, provided for by God. But- boring! Like ‘groundhog day’
- Just ‘biding time’ until someone else would take God up on His call
In fact the word that keeps cropping up in numbers is a Hebrew word meaning ‘journeying’, ‘setting out’
- that’s what they did. Their unbelief stopping them ‘crossing over’. They just set out each day (cloud & pillar) to go round in circles
Now- just take that in. This is not psycho-babble from a modern-day marketing or spin guru.
- There is a strong emphasis in scripture that ATTITUDE, faith and doubt AFFECTS what God can do through you
o He WANTS to do great things… but if you easily doubt or are easily defeated- you won’t experience all He wants
The word that keeps cropping up for their journey in the book of Joshua is different. It’s not ‘milling around’, it’s ‘crossing over.
These folks are full of faith. Eager to obey. The previous generation had completely died out- all apart from Joshua and Caleb
- who fell a hundred times, but got back up and believed God… and His promise… 100 times
So- when the Lord says to them ‘go. Step out. Take it. Take the land’
- they are ready to obey
?[Now- question number one. If you ‘feel’ God say this kind of thing to you, how do you know if it’s God or your own desires?
a) if any of it is against ‘kingdom’ principles – it’s not Him (ie harm)
b) it was nothing new. The ‘call’ was hundreds of years old and tested. It was in line with where they were at ALREADY
c) it wasn’t a call to comfort , ease or self-promotion. “You have NOT been this way before’ (apart from this is prob where Jesus was baptised!)
d) The God’s Kingdom grew (not just their empire)
e) Their eyes were on God: consecrated. Waiting for the ark.]
So- here’s the call of God. A genuine opportunity from God. But note the first thing that stands in their way
STUMBLING BLOCKS OR STEPPING STONES – the Jordan River
There are always obstacles to what god wants you to do.
- you’d think : ‘if it’s God- it’d be smooth!’
o not so!
Life puts things in our way… and God allows things to
- test our faith. Test His provision. Get us out of our rut.
- develop our spiritual muscles… our faith
- see whether we will stumble over them or USE them as stepping-stones…
o see them as obstacles or opportunities
The thing is- this river was no joke
- in spring, this normally narrow river flooded its banks
o could be 100 feet deep and a mile wide!