FACING THE FUTURE
By Troy Borst
In the first chapter of Joshua, we begin reading about a crisis that has erupted in the lives of the people of Israel. Their longtime leader and spiritual guide, Moses, has died. We need to understand that this time was very much a crisis for these people. This was the man who had led them from slavery in Egypt! This was the man who brought them the laws of God! And now he is gone.
In the first chapter of this book, we not only find crisis, but we find the Lord speaking to the new leader of the people. We find God meeting this man and encouraging him. We find God meeting this man and challenging him about the future.
- THE PURPOSE OF GOD (v. 2)
Joshua was about to become very aware of God’s purpose and direction in his life. Moses was dead and Joshua had been his assistant. There was no contract that Joshua would become the leader. There was no line of succession. What I mean to say is that Joshua becoming the leader was not a “given”, but was open. This new leader would be in charge of leading the people to the Promised Land… no small task.
I think the leadership of Israel was in doubt until that moment when “God spoke to Joshua.” God was now hand-choosing the next leader of His people. It was God who would be directing their paths through the Promised Land. God chose Joshua to be that leader who would bring about the fulfillment of the promises to Abraham.
God’s directions and purposes are clear: 1) The people of Israel are going across the Jordan River into Canaan and will take possession of it. 2) Joshua son of Nun will be their leader in all of this.
II. THE PROMISE OF GOD (v. 3)
Joshua and the people of Israel trusted in the Lord their God. They put all their faith and trust in Him to guide them and lead them into Canaan. And what of Joshua? He had to believe that God keeps His Word. Joshua had been a faithful believer throughout his life. In fact, when Israel spied out Canaan 40 years before, only he and Caleb put their faith in God and believed that they could conquer the land. Joshua knew that God always fulfills His promises. Joshua knew that God had promised Abraham that he would become a mighty nation and that his people would inhabit the land of Canaan. And now, Joshua and the people stood on the bank of the Jordan ready to go in and possess the land. God’s promises were coming true.
We as Christians also have the benefit of knowing that God keeps His promises. We have the entire Bible to read and discover all the promises that have been fulfilled. We also have Christ, in who so many of God’s promises are fulfilled. 2 Corinthians 1:20 explains to us that all the promises of God are fulfilled in Jesus and He is the One we have been looking for. In Him we find the “Yes” answer to our questions.
Was Jesus the Son of God?
Was He the Promised One who would take away the sins of the world?
Is He our every present help in times of need?
Does He provide direction for us in our lives?
As God was speaking with Joshua, He promised Joshua something very important. It occurs in verse 3. Joshua was assured victory in all of his endeavors. In taking hold of these promises, Joshua would be given all the places that his foot trod. He was given the victory before he even started.
III. THE POWER OF GOD (v. 5)
I believe that Joshua was a man of faith. He believed God and all that He was saying and promising. Because of this, God’s power was available for Joshua. God tells Joshua in verse 5 that no one will be able to stand against him all the days of his life… now that is power. We will see that power working in Joshua’s life shortly when he faces off against Jericho.
The people of Israel don’t stand a chance of toppling this mighty fortress of a city. Yet they do.
Joshua may feel that he doesn’t have the skills to lead Israel. Yet he does.
Retold from “The Book of Virtues” Editor: William J. Bennett
There is a story that centers on a king and the members of his court who were continually full of flattery. “You are the greatest man that ever lived…You are the most powerful king of all…Your highness, there is nothing you cannot do, nothing in this world dares disobey you.”
The king was a wise man and he grew tired such foolish speeches. One day as he was walking by the seashore he decided to teach them a lesson. “So you say I am the greatest man in the world?” he asked them. “O king,” they cried, “there never has been anyone as mighty as you, and there never be anyone so great, ever again!”
“And you say all things obey me?” he asked.
“Yes sire” they said. “The world bows before you, and gives you honor.”
“I see,” the king answered. “In that case, bring me my chair, and place it down by the water.” The servants scrambled to carry the royal chair over the sands. At his direction they placed it right at the water’s edge. The King sat down and looked out at the ocean. “I notice the tide is coming in. Do you think it will stop if I give the command?”
“Give the order, O great king, and it will obey,” cried his entourage.
“Sea,” cried the king, “I command you to come no further! Do not dare touch my feet!”
He waited a moment, and a wave rushed up the sand and lapped at his feet. “How dare you!” he shouted. “Ocean, turn back now! I have ordered you to retreat before me, and now you must obey! Go back!” In came another wave lapping at the king’s feet. The king remained on his throne throughout the day, screaming at the waves to stop. Yet in they came anyway, until the seat of the throne was covered with water.
Finally the king turned to his servants and said, “It seems I do not have quite so much power as you would have me believe. Perhaps now you will remember there is only one King who is all-powerful, and it is He who rules the sea, and holds the ocean in the hollow of His hand. I suggest you reserve your praises for him.”
The power of God, that same power that holds the earth together and calms the seas, is available to you in your own personal life. All that is required to access this awesome power is faith.
IV. THE PRESENCE OF GOD (v. 9)
Verse 9 would have been a great comfort to Joshua and the people. God told Joshua that He would be with them wherever they went. Joshua had the very presence of God as he marched through the Promised Land. We, as Christians, have that very same presence with us today. We have the presence of God in our lives given to us by Christ and described to us in the Word of God.
THE PRESENCE OF HIS LOVE
The passengers on the bus watched sympathetically as the attractive young woman with the white cane made her way carefully up the steps. She paid the driver and, using her hands to feel the location of the seats, walked down the aisle and found the seat he’d told her was empty. Then she settled in, placed her briefcase on her lap and rested her cane against her leg.
It had been a year since Susan, thirty-four, became blind. Due to a medical misdiagnosis she had been rendered sightless, and she was suddenly thrown into a world of darkness, anger, frustration and self-pity. Once a fiercely independent woman, Susan now felt condemned by this terrible twist of fate to become a powerless, helpless burden on everyone around her.
“How could this have happened to me?” she would plead, her heart knotted with anger. But no matter how much she cried or ranted or prayed, she knew the painful truth her sight was never going to return. And all she had to cling to was her husband Mark.
Mark was an Air Force officer and he loved Susan with all of his heart. Finally, Susan felt ready to return to her job, but how would she get there? She used to take the bus, but was now too frightened to get around the city by herself. Mark volunteered to drive her to work each day, even though they worked at opposite ends of the city. At first, this comforted Susan and fulfilled Mark’s need to protect his sightless wife who was so insecure about performing the slightest task. Soon, however, Mark realized that this arrangement wasn’t working – it was hectic, and costly.
Susan is going to have to start taking the bus again, he admitted to himself. Susan was horrified at the idea of taking the bus again. “I’m blind!” she responded bitterly. “How am I supposed to know where I’m going? I feel like you’re abandoning me.” Mark’s heart broke to hear these words, but he knew what had to be done. He promised Susan that each morning and evening he would ride the bus with her, for as long as it took, until she got the hang of it. And that is exactly what happened.
For two solid weeks, Mark, military uniform and all, accompanied Susan to and from work each day. He taught her how to rely on her other senses, specifically her hearing, to determine where she was and how to adapt to her new environment. He helped her befriend the bus drivers who could watch out for her, and save her a seat. He made her laugh, even on those not-so-good days when she would trip exiting the bus, or drop her briefcase.
Finally, Susan decided that she was ready to try the trip on her own. Monday morning arrived, and before she left, she threw her arms around Mark, her temporary bus riding companion, her husband, and her best friend. She said good-bye, and for the first time, they went their separate ways. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday… Each day on her own went perfectly, and Susan had never felt better. She was doing it! She was going to work all by herself! On Friday morning, Susan took the bus to work as usual. As she was paying for her fare to exit the bus, the driver said, “Boy, I sure envy you.” Susan wasn’t sure if the driver was speaking to her or not. After all, who on earth would ever envy a blind woman who had struggled just to find the courage to live for the past year? Curious, she asked the driver, “Why do you say that you envy me?”
The driver responded, “It must feel so good to be taken care of and protected like you are.” Susan had no idea what the driver was talking about, and asked again, “What do you mean?” The driver answered, “You know, every morning for the past week, a fine looking gentleman in a military uniform has been standing across the corner watching you when you get off the bus. He makes sure you cross the street safely and he watches you until you enter your office building. Then he blows you a kiss, gives you a little salute and walks away. You are one lucky lady.”
God watches over us in just the same way. We may not know He is present. We may not be able to see His face, but He is there nonetheless! Be blessed in this thought: “God Loves You – even when you are not looking.”
People of faith can face the uncertain future with certainty. We can face each day as Joshua did, with God’s purpose, promise, power, and presence.