Summary: For many of us, the biggest decision we make is spiritual, the moment you decide to follow Jesus and the moment you decide to respond to God’s call upon your life. The Hebrew people are at such a moment of decision in their journey
Step Up and Step Out!
Have you ever been at a crossroads, a time in your life where you needed to make a critical decision that is going to have a huge effect on the rest of your life. You come to a moment and have to make a choice about what you’re going to do and the direction you’re going to take. It might be the type of people you’re going to surround yourself with growing up, what college you’re going to attend, what career you’re going to choose, or who you’re going to marry. For many of us, the biggest decision we make is spiritual, the moment you decide to follow Jesus and the moment you decide to respond to God’s call upon your life.
In our Scripture today, the Hebrew people are at such a moment of decision in their journey together. They had been traveling their entire lives hearing about the Promised Land filled “with milk and honey.” The journey had been long and hard, filled with many detours and trials. But now they stand on the shoreline of the Jordan River and it’s time to make one final crossing. Hopes and dreams are mixed with fears of the unknown of what lies ahead for them and the enemies and challenges they will encounter. They are filled with anticipation but also mired in uncertainty.
There are several things we learn from our Scripture today. First, as we come to make this commitment through “Illuminate”, we need to purify ourselves. Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” While there is no doubt that the Hebrew’s journey has been a physical one through the desert and wilderness, Joshua reminds them first foremost that this is a spiritual journey. So they wait for three days before they cross over. Why? So they could prepare spiritually for the journey which lies ahead. That included confessing their sin, laying aside their hatred and hurts, lifting their hearts toward God, checking their motives, trusting in the sovereign I AM, and choosing to do whatever God calls them to do ahead of time. God is calling us to purify ourselves and commit to the journey which lies ahead. That’s more than just giving lip service, the Hebrews have to cross the Jordan and work for what God wants to give them, the “land of milk and honey.”
Second, God wants to do great wonders among us! “The Lord will do great wonders among you.” God has brought them to this place and wants to do some amazing things through them. God had done some amazing things along the journey: parting the Red Sea to providing manna and water in the desert each day to leading them by pillar of fire by night a pillar of cloud by day. Now God’s ready to do another miracle in their midst. Where the Hebrews are in their journey speaks to us. The last six years has been a journey. God has done some amazing things in, among and through us. And we’ve, as the commercial used to say, have, “Come a long way baby!” but we also know we haven’t arrived and God’s not done with us yet.
Last week, we were reminded that all we have is from God and we are blessed to be a blessing. This series “Illuminate” is about four ways you can commit to be light and Illuminate the darkness in the world. First, it’s about being light in the world by blessing others and we did that by giving away almost $2000, asking you to go and bless someone. Second, it’s about serving others. We’re asking you to commit your time this week to some servant evangelism and go out and bless someone with a kind act. Third, on September 15, we’re celebrating ‘Invite a Friend Day and are asking you to invite and bring as many people as you can as we start a new series entitled, “Modern Family.” Fourth, on September 8, we’re seeking to raise a significant amount of money for marketing and advertising to get the word out about our church and what God is doing here and to pay our apportionments which is a portion meant for others where we support the outreach, ministry and missionaries across our state, nation and world. But this is more than money, it’s about your heart. More than your money, God wants your heart. That’s why we need to purify ourselves by confessing our sins, checking our motives and stepping up to the challenge to “Illuminate.” The point of Illuminate is not the gift but what happens in your heart when you’re captured by the Light of the World and become light to others. God needs your heart to be completely sold out for Jesus and God’s mission of “Connecting diverse communities to a lifestyle devoted to Jesus.” If so, then “the Lord will do great wonders among you.”