Summary: How journaling helps us grow in our Christian faith and become more Christ-like. part 2 of 13 on Spiritual Disc.
Spiritual Disciplines - Journaling
Joshua 1-4, Various
January 13, 2008
Family vacations . . . you can have some amazingly fun time on them. Sometimes when you come back from your vacation you feel like you never went. There’s the laundry and the recovery of vacations . . . but there are a few ways to remember what your vacation was like. You could take time to write about it or you could take lots and lots of pictures. When you take pictures, like my family pictures, you’ve left yourself a record, a precious record of your vacation. A record of the scenery, of fun events, of milestone events. When there are children involved, these pictures can also be used later in life to reveal how truly silly and fun loving they were.
Or have you ever had to clean out your old books or someone else’s belongings, and as you do, you become engrossed in their old, old pictures, or maybe you find some books or journals in which they have written in and instead of cleaning, you find hours passing while you’re looking at and learning about someone’s lifestory.
In some ways, that is what we are going to talk about today. Last week we began our series on Spiritual Disciplines. Remember Spiritual Disciplines are utilizing biblical tools to enable us to draw closer to God and to become more Christlike. They help us on our journey during the good and not so good times. They help us when we are being tempted and struggling; and they help us in times of success and celebration. We can and must utilize Spiritual Disciplines if we want to grow in our relationship with Jesus.
Today we are looking at the Spiritual Discipline of Journaling. The Bible never tells us, nor are we commanded to journal and write things down, but we see examples of this on a number of occasions in the Bible, and I want to unpack one major story for you today.
After Moses died, a young upstart named Joshua became the leader of the Israelites. Moses had died and the people were now at the threshold of the promised land; the Jordan river, the land that was flowing with milk and honey. The people were there. It was time. They had gone through the dessert for 40 years, walking and wandering, living and dying . . . and now it’s time.
I can only imagine the anxiety of the people as they looked at the river. Joshua 3:15 tells us “the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest.” What does this mean? Have you ever seen a river running when it’s at flood stage? Did you watch the news this past week, after we had a great deal of rain, homes were flooded and the rivers were rapidly moving. The water isn’t sitting pretty, it’s rapidly racing, and this is the water the Israelites are going to cross. One thing to remember, only Joshua and Caleb were left from the original escapees from Egypt. Not one of this new group had seen the waters of the Red Sea part. All they understood about the dessert life was heat and more heat; sand and more sand, life and death, and manna. They ate manna all the time, they probably thought that manna was the only food source created by God.
The time has come, but they don’t know how to swim. There are no swim lessons in the dessert. So, what does Joshua do. He listens to the LORD, and the LORD tells Joshua the following, which he reports to the people, saying,
“10 This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. 11 See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you.
Can you imagine the scene? The priests are carrying the ark, the holiest of all the possessions of the Israelites; and they are heading right into the water. But wait a minute. It’s flood season, and the water is racing. But the priests keep going.
13 As soon as the priests who carry the ark of the LORD--the Lord of all the earth--set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap." 14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.