Summary: Joshua, Pt. 3
WHO’S IN CHARGE? (JOSHUA 3:1-17)
Famed Japanese director Akira Kurosawabest’s black and white movie “Ikiru” certainly makes one ponder about life’s meaning and purpose. The story is about the choices a dying man faced and made upon learning he had cancer. Kanji Watanabe, the Chief of the Citizens Section that entertain complaints from local residents, toiled meaninglessly for the last thirty years. Upon hearing he had cancer, he promptly gave up hope, quitting working and living until a carefree and young former employee, who toiled in a factory, captured his heart’s interest. Although the friendship blossomed for a while, the girl was increasingly tired of the boring old man who had no life except to spend more and more time with her. Unknown to her, Watanabe just wanted to know how live like her for just one day before his death. The silly girl remarked casually as she toyed innocently with a hopping mechanical rabbit her factory produced: “I can’t show you. I only eat and work. That’s all, really. I just make toys like this. I feel as if all the babies in Japan are my friends.”
The man got the point, rushed out with the toy rabbit and sought to complete some of the untouched office projects lying on his desk, specifically a mission to transform a swamp into a playground, which neighbors had petitioned to government departments, agencies and officers unsuccessfully for many months. He pestered the Public Works, the Sewerage Section, the Park Committee and even the Mayor’s Office but Watanabe died five months later, shortly before the park’s opening.
After the man’s death, the Deputy Mayor claimed credit for the completion of the project, incensing meddling reporters, disbelieving employees and the women’s association. An emotional, loyal employee insisted poignantly and defiantly, “Mr. Watanabe built that park, no matter what anyone says!”
What is the high point of your life? Graduating from college? Obtaining your citizenship? Marrying your sweetheart? Buying your home? Locking in promotion?
Crossing the Red Sea was Moses’ biggest event, his brightest moment and finest hour, but crossing the 200-mile Jordan was hardly the highlight of Joshua’s career and life. Joshua had been there and done that when he crossed the Red Sea. He had seen how the Lord divided the Red Sea, how the Israelites crossed the dry land, how the army of Pharaoh drowned in the sea and how the Lord had saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians. The impact was edged in Joshua’s memory (Ex 14: 31), but a longer lasting and more permanent impact awaited him. Joshua’s greatest triumph was the belief that God would do wondrous things through him all the days of his life. He believed that the Lord would do extraordinary, miraculous and wondrous things in the lives of those who have a right attitude, those with the right facts and those on the right track.
Refuse to Think Big
3:1 Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over. 2 After three days the officers went throughout the camp, 3 giving orders to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. 4 Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about a thousand yards between you and the ark; do not go near it.” 5 Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.” 6 Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people.” So they took it up and went ahead of them. (Josh 3:1-6)
A man was so excited about his promotion to Vice President of the company he worked for and kept bragging about it to his wife for weeks on end. Finally she couldn’t take it any longer, and told him, “Listen, it means nothing, they even have a vice president of peas at the grocery store!” “Really?” he said. Not sure if this was true or not, the man decided to call the grocery store. A clerk answered and Tom said, “Can I speak to the Vice president of peas?” The clerk replied, “Canned or frozen?”
Joshua told the people that the Lord Himself would do amazing things among them the next day (Josh 3:5).
When God first commissioned Moses, Moses had the knowledge, assurance and promise from God that He would perform wonders, stretch out His hand and strike the Egyptians if Pharaoh refused to let Israel go (Ex 3:19-20). Later, at Horeb, God reiterated to Moses that He would do wonders never before done in any nation in the world (Ex 34:10). Unlike Moses, Joshua did not have the inside information, iron-clad assurances or the constant update Moses had from God, yet he never thought of questioning God and did not mull over the obstacles or sought for more information, assurance or recognition.