Summary: As they faced new challenges, Joshua prepares God’s people before they enter a new land.
December 31, 2000
Central Church of Christ
YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN THIS WAY BEFORE
1. It may seem to us that tomorrow begins another year. another calendar.everything is basically the same. We are going to be involved in the same things.kids going to same school..plans are to keep life the same.There are many ways, though, that a new year presents a new path, new choices, new beginnings.
2. In our text, Joshua has assumed leadership of Israel. Moses has led them for 40 years through the wilderness wandering. They are now on the border of
a new country - a land of milk and honey. Though they had wandered for 40 years, and faced many trials and dangers, Joshua affirms that they "have never been this way before".
3. A New Year is a New Path! We are beginning a new journey down a path, which we have never before walked. Like Israel, we are entering upon a new
way. What’s so new about it? There are new experiences to face; new problems to solve, new trials to endure, new temptations to meet, new sorrows to bear, new opportunities to grasp, new tasks to perform, new blessings to enjoy. Four things characterize this new path:
I. THE NEW PATH WILL TEST OUR FAITH.
A. Israel was facing a path that would present to them some new tests. They face a swollen river Jordan to cross. Jericho’s intimidating walls were on the other side. There were giants in the land to fight, cities to conquer. It was only by faith that they were able to overcome their obstacles.
B. We must face our obstacles in faith as well. We may see looming in the distance things that we will have to face. We may not be able to see how they are to be accomplished. We must press on down this new path anyway. It will not only test us.
II. THE NEW PATH WILL POINT US TO GOD’S PROVISION.
A. Only by divine provision was Israel to cross Jordan and defeat Jericho. Isaiah 30:21 "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." Israel was only successful when they continued in the will of God - which required trusting in his provision.
B. God’s will for us is always connected with the provision to accomplish it. When God says ’Go’, we must know that He will bless us and help us in going! What God says ’Do’, there is always ample provision for those who have faith to obey. John 10:4 "When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice."
Listen to this poem by Dr. Alexander Blackburn:
It is better to walk in the dark with God,
than to run in the light alone;
Yes, better the thorniest path ever trod,
where the briers are thick, and our feet unshod;
If only we follow His voice and rod,
Than without Him to march to a throne.
It is better with Him when the billows dash high,
On the breast of the mad Galilee;
Though the Master may sleep He will wake at our cry
Or He’ll come on the waves saying: "Peace, it is I."
Better this than a calm when He is not night,
Or without Him to sail a smooth sea."
D. The new path we face will test us, it will point us to God’s provision, and.
III. THE NEW PATH WILL OFFER CERTAINTY.
A. Life is full of earthly uncertainties. Life itself is an uncertainty. Wealth is uncertain. (Proverbs 23:5 "Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.") Friendships are uncertain.
B. We have certainties because of the path we walk. God is a certainty! (Russell Lowell wrote that ".behind the dim unknown, Standeth God within the
shadow, keeping watch above His own.") Jesus Christ is a certainty. (Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.") The church is a certainty. (Matthew 16:18 "..on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.") Heaven is a certainty.If some of us are claimed by death before the year is ended, we know
that ".to die is gain" (Phil 1:21). 2 Corinthians 5:1 "Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands."
C. The New path of a new year will test us, point us to God’s provision,offer us certainties, and