Summary: Transitional moments. At any given time we are only a phone call, a text, an E-mail away from some life altering situations. For the Jews of Joshua's day 2 things changed: the manna, and the pillar of fire. Adapting is necessary for survival.
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Jos 5:12 And the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten some of the produce of the land, so that the sons of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate some of the yield of the land of Canaan during that year.
Last week I preached on how one of Moses last acts on earth was to individually bless the tribes of Israel. It was one of the ways God prepared them for what was ahead. They were about to enter a serious transition, although in many ways a very good one. They were going from the wilderness to the promised land.
We usually don't associate danger with promotion and increase, but people fail and walk away from God just as much when things are going well, as when they are very difficult. That is most obvious in the world of entertainment, but it is also true in business, and almost every other venture in life. So God did several things to prepare the children of Israel to adapt to the situation on the ground. I will talk about them in weeks to come, but they include: Circumcision, Passover, and a visit by the commander in chief of the angel armies.
I will only touch lightly on our text today and will talk more at length on transitions, and a simple strategy on how to successfully navigate them.
Our text says the manna ceased. Perhaps the two most significant events that changed for the Jewish people are the one before us in our passage and another that is never spoken of in the bible. Both have to do with the way God related, and revealed Himself to His people.
The first had to do with how the children of Israel got their food. Paul in 1 Cor 10 tells us that what happened to them in the natural was to teach us spiritual principles.
Manna in the natural can be compared to spiritual daily bread. They went from being fed by their parent, to having to provide their own meals. Most children make the change very easily, but every now and then there is one or two that want to be baby fed. Paul laments this truth when he said, I gave you milk, and not meat, because you were a baby.
The child was not growing up.
The other major change for the children of Israel, and as I said this is never spoken of in the bible, is that the pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night disappeared. One exception dedication of the temple by Solomon.
3 Purposes of the cloud and fire:
3. Assurance - God is with us
The way a parent assures us changes over time. God changed the way He related to His children.
God changed and transitioned the way He chose to reveal Himself to the children of Israel. A lot of Jews were probably very troubled by that, probably felt God had left them. They probably kept looking for God to reveal Himself in the old familiar way, but He never went back to doing things that way.
Elijah the prophet wisely teaches us the way to handle that transition in his listening for God in the cave, while on the run from Jezebel. God was not in the fire, God was not in the mighty blowing with, God was not in the ground shaking, but God was in the still small voice. He wisely understood the whispers of God are just as true and as powerful, as when He shouts like in a hurricane.
Let's talk about transitions in general, and then we will move from there.
Transition is how we adapt when God or life requires us to move from one state of being to another.
Some transitions we choose some are thrust on us.
Success or failure in life is often determined by how we handle the transitions of life. This is true individually, as an organization, as a church body, as a business entity, and as a government.
Let me illustrate:
There is something in life we call the mid-life crises where people realize the candle of their life is getting shorter. Their body is changing with relentless passage of time. Some people at this critical time in their life make decisions that destroy their finances, destroy their families, and in many ways destroy their lives.
Young people going away to college, or a career, or the military invariably come to the reality that my life is my own I can do what I want. They are transitioning from childhood to adults. They are moving from one state of being into another, and they can make foolish choices that will affect them for a very long time.