Summary: God’s promises to Joshua and to us
Which Way To The Milk And Honey?
How often do you feel like you have life under control? Like things are humming along, generally the house is in order, the stuff of life reasonably organized and manageable, the “to do list” feels accomplishable, and things are generally in control.
I’ve been missing that feeling lately! There has been a lot of change for Joanne and me in the last couple of weeks, with me returning to work full time and Joanne cutting back to 3 days/week, moving my office from home to here, this past week being concerned again with Thomas possibly getting sick. Then I look at the task ahead for us as a church, and it is easy to start to feel overwhelmed. Inadequate. Unable. It feels a little out of my control, and because of my personality I’m not particularly comfortable with that! I don’t want to know just what the next step is, I want to know all the steps between A and B, I want to have plans in place to get from here to there, I want to know the obstacles and pitfalls along the way and be prepared to meet them.
And then there is God. He says to me, “Trust me.” And I say, “ok, lay it all out in front of me and I’ll trust you.” God says, “Trust me for step one.” I say, “but…”, and He says, “trust.”
I feel like God has told us where to head as a church, what He wants us to be in terms of a hospital, greenhouse, and festival. But how do we become those things? How do we get there from here? How do we make changes to get on God’s agenda?
And in my own life, and in your life, what does it mean to walk with God? What does it mean to be one of His children? How do we live daily letting Him be in control, letting Him be Lord?
I want to take these questions with us into Joshua 1, and see from there what God reveals through His word.
1. The Promise (vss. 1-5):
The story begins with a transfer of leadership and an affirmation of the promise. There are a couple of things worth noticing:
A. It was not a new Promise (vs. 3b):
God reaffirms His commitment to His original promise. The promise recalled here was the one to Moses, “every place where you set your foot,” a promise first made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (mentioned in vs. 6). For the Israelites, that specific promise was the land, the territory. God had promised to bless Abraham’s descendants and to bring them into “The Promised Land,” a rich land flowing with milk and honey and prosperity. This was a major promise, one which dominates much of the early part of the OT. The promise was the sustaining vision in the many years of wandering, the promise finally of a home and a nation.
As much as the land was promised, there are two other promises in vs. 5 which I believe are for us today as much as they were for Joshua and the Israelites.
B. The Promise of Victory (5a):
This is not strictly an OT promise, to a specific person at a specific time. Compare this to Paul’s words in Romans 8:31b-37:
If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:
"For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Paul’s words for us are that we are more than conquerors through HIM. I wonder how our lives might be different if we lived that reality – if we walked around knowing that victory was assured. If we went into every situation claiming the promise that “no one will be able to stand up against you.”
I don’t know what situations you are up against in your life today, but I do know God has promised victory. He has promised triumph. Whatever need you have, whatever battles you are engaged in, God has already dealt with. We are more than conquerors through HIM!