Summary: How to get moving again for God when you've been stuck in the past.
Moving Past the Past
Joshua 1:2 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.
I. The Past – “Moses my servant is dead…”
A. We can review the past
It has been said that nothing that we see or hear or experience is ever lost. It is stored in our subconscious ready for recall. These memories can come back to us like dreams or they can come back to us like night mares! When Moses looked back over his life it must have been a mixture of both! His days in the house of Pharaoh must have seemed like a dream that ended in a night mare! Churches and individuals have a history that is also a mixture of each.
B. We can reflect on the past
“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Sir Winston Churchill
Reflective thinking is almost a thing of the past in our culture. We can and should learn from the past but it is almost impossible if we are incapable of reflective thought.
“Enjoy life, it has an expiration date!” Jim Cox
C. We must not relive the past
Living in the past has its draw backs. The problem occurs when we live in the past and stay there so long that never move into the future.
I'm living in the past
Everything in front of me is so beautiful
But I see it so rarely
I'm living in the past
Longing to go back
Who's to say my other present would be this beautiful
I can't go back
I can't let go
I have this hope
I'm living in the past
II. The Present – “...now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people…”
A. The urgency – “…now…”
One of the great failings of the church today is the loss of a sense of urgency in the work of the Lord.
John 9:4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
The two phrases "carpe diem" and "carpe noctem" really mean to "live life to the fullest extent." Don't waste your time on meaningless activities or pursuits. Everything that you WANT to do, or HOPE to do, should be attended to immediately. Life is short, and death "could be" just around the corner. Another version of this "time is fleeting idea," is this: “Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today. AND Make hay while the sun shines.”
B. The utility – “arise and go over…”
James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not…
There is an interesting passage in the “Parable of the Prodigal,” where this wayward boy finds himself in the hog pen, comes to his senses, and makes a decision to return to the Father’s house…
Luke 15:18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
C. The unity – “…thou, and all this people…”
Gill states that there were perhaps: “…six hundred thousand men or more, besides a great number of women and children, and no boats to carry them over, or pontoons to put across the river:”
The success of Nehemiah and the people in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem was not just a triumph of effectual leadership but the triumph of a people “…who had a mind to work!” They were willing to work cooperatively. They worked together for their faith, their families and their future!
Third: What awaits those who work together, who go over together?
III. The Prospects – “…unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.”
A. The object – The land is the land of promise.
Adoniram Judson was a great missionary. He once said about serving God, and success: "There is no success without sacrifice. If you succeed without sacrifice it is because someone has suffered before you. If you sacrifice without success it is because someone will succeed after."
B. The operation
In some ways the Promised Land is emblematic of heaven and in some ways it is not. For instance, even though they crossed into the Promised Land they did not possess it all and they all died “…not having received the promise…” The choosing of this people to be His people out of all the people on the earth was an act of sovereign grace. Their deliverance from Egypt’s bondage was an act of sovereign grace and the gift of the Promised Land was an act of sovereign grace. We like them have nothing to boast of and like Paul we can say, “…by the grace of God I am what I am.”