Summary: The faithfulness of God is seen in the new era of Israel under Joshua’s leadership.
The Ways of God
Joshua 1,3, 4
(Scripture reading is from Psalms 77:11-15).
Over the past several weeks we’ve been pushing our way through the book of Joshua, looking closely at some of the ways that God works in the lives of His people. This week I decided it was time for us to step back, take a breath, and look at the big picture.
There is a story about a teenage boy who was deeply interested in scientific subjects, especially astronomy. So his father bought him a very expensive telescope. Since the young fellow had studied the principles of optics, he found the instrument to be most intriguing. He took it apart, examined the lenses, and made detailed calculations on the distance of its point of focus. The youth became so absorbed in gaining a technical knowledge of the telescope itself that he never got around to looking at the stars. He knew a lot about that fine instrument, but he missed seeing the wonders of the heavens.
Sometimes we get so enamored with the details that we forget to look at the big picture.
As I’ve read, prayed, and meditated over these stories we’ve looked at so far in Joshua, I was lead to the scripture in Psa. 77. (read)
That’s the big picture. Or, if you will, that’s the God who paints the picture. A God whose ways are holy, whose arm is powerful, a god who performs great miracles. That’s what we need to see in these stories.
I want to start where we left off last week.
The Jordan River was a barrier to the people. God had called them to enter the Promised Land. But the Jordan was a barrier that separated them from their destination.
God’s people still face barriers. For you it is probably not a river, but a habit, an attitude, a sin, an addiction, a grudge, a financial challenge, joblessness, a divorce, outside expectations, etc.... This church has barriers too. We often face a barrier to reaching out to unsaved and unchurched people, to discipling those young in their faith, etc.
In this account of Israel crossing the Jordan, we will learn three truths of how God still enables His people to cross the barriers before them.
I. God Always Prepares His People (1:1-18).
A. God prepared Israel to cross the Jordan.
1. Last week we learned how God brought Israel to the border of the Promised Land 40 years earlier. Through mighty plagues, He delivered them from slavery in Egypt. He parted the waters of the Red Sea. He gave them His law on Mt. Sinai. He fed them in the wilderness. He defeated their enemies in battle.
2. When He lead them to the land, He told Moses to send in spies to see the land He was "giving" them (Num.13:2). 10 of the 12 spies brought back a "bad report" and the people rebelled against God. As punishment, God allowed that whole generation, everyone over 20 to die in the wilderness.
3. After 40 years of wandering, when the last of the rebels were dead, God brought His people again to the edge of the Promised Land. This time they came to the banks of the Jordan on the east.
B. God prepared Joshua to cross the Jordan (vv.1-9).