Summary: To move forward with God means "crossing over Jordan"
The Wrong Side of Jordan
* One of the great “sagas” found in God’s work is the study of the Exodus by the Jewish people from Egypt. To study this group is to learn many needed lessons in the life of a believer.
* In Egypt, we see God stopping at nothing to gain the release of His people while reminding all creation that He was still in charge. At the Red Sea, we are once again reminded that God can make a way when there seems to be no way. In the Wilderness of Sin, we read that God provides all the necessities of life (I.E. food and water). When they came to Sinai, God revealed Himself and established His laws. Now we can track the steps of this 1.2 million people and see God’s hand all along the way, but the big change of direction came at Kadesh-Barnea. That is where God (plus 2) said, “We can take the land” and the majority report proved fatal (at least for everyone over the age of 20.)
* Because of the refusal of God’s people to obey His command they met an unhappy fate. First, we should note that disobedience makes has the ability to make God angry. In fact, God’s initial reaction to their disobedience was to “strike them all dead.” After Moses interceded for the people, God agreed to let them die NATURALLY (in the wilderness?). Numbers 33 gives a bird’s eye view of the “Wilderness wanderings.” The book of Deuteronomy gives a more complete picture. At the end of Deuteronomy, forty years seems to have passed, Moses gives a challenge for people, and then passes off the scene. By the way, God never allows one chapter to end without opening another Chapter.
* Watch this; While Moses did a good job—he could never quite get them to the “finish line.” Moses died with the knowledge that the Children of Israel were still on the wrong side of Jordan. Moses passes off the scene; God prepared and appoints Joshua as his successor. Turn to Joshua 3. In chapter 1 & 2, God gets them ready to cross Jordan. Let’s Read 1-17
* Can you imagine what it was like to stand on the “wrong side of Jordan” and look into the land which God had promised? Can you imagine the anticipation, all of the stories, and the hope of tomorrow? But here is the catch? Did they have enough faith to follow God into the promised land?
* The question for us tonight is exactly the same? Do we have enough faith to cross Jordan? Just like the like the Children of Israel some 40 years earlier at Kadesh-Barnea we standing at THE cross road. Amazingly, God gives us a choice. Years ago Ken Medema, a blind pianist, writer, and singer, wrote these words, “Will you stay where you are, or will you reach for star?” The children spent 40 years eating dust because of their choice.
* When we choose to change sides of Jordan, we will become, see, do, & go in ways we never thought possible. I offer four benefits to a good choice.
1. We will BE what we have Never Been. Verse 5 records Joshua as saying, “Consecrate yourselves.” Most all translations use the word ‘consecrate’ but a few used other concepts like “purify”, “make holy” or “hallow.” The concept from the Hebrew language is to set your self apart as pure for Holy work. Christ expects us to be consecrated, purified, and holy for Him. Yet in the Children of Israel we can discover just exactly how easy it is to walk away from God’s leading. To move into the future that He has planned means intentionally allowing Him to make us into the person we have never been before.
a. As I was thinking about and praying through this thought it occurred to me that God’s basic command to the previous generation was almost the same as to this present one. In a real sense, this generation has never been seen as or been an obedient people. They kind of made their choices and then spent much time on God’s hit list because of their hard-headedness and disobedience. When we become what we have never been, obedient, the blessings of God follow.
2. We will see what we have never seen. – This truth will follow the Children of Israel and us into eternity. When we choose to become obedient to God, He will pour out of heaven a blessing which our cups cannot hold. Psalms 23 says, “My cup overflows” while Ephesians 3:20 reminds us that He is able to do exceeding and abundantly above and beyond” anything we can imagine. This gives us insight to some of the capacity of God to bless us and give us what we cannot even think about. 1 Corinthians 2:9 basically tells us that when we choose to follow Him, the sky is the limit and the best is yet to come. Watch how this plays out in our story.