Text: Joshua 1:1-11 January 6, 2012.
1) New Year is not new: Most people in this world, including many Christians, don¡¯t feel anything new on New Year. These people see the New Year just as another day in the calendar. Many facing New Year with pessimistic attitude because there are many ¡°unknown¡± factor in the New Year. Some of these people even hold negative feelings at New Year time because they are fearful of the new challenges they may face. They don¡¯t feel the excitement of a near year, new possibility, new victory, new hope for new life and new things in the year to come.
2) New Year is all new: Being children of God, Christians should not be pessimistic in facing the New Year. We know life is created by God and time is also created by God. God has good purpose to set seasons and we are to celebrate the New Year as a gift of God. When God allows us to live in the New Year, we believe He will lead us through the year to fulfill his purpose for his glory. To achieve what we want to see in the year to come, we have to be ready for the job.
PERSPECTIVES ON THE FUTURE: (Joshua 1:1-4)
1) Change is part of life: ¡°After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord.¡± (1:1) For over 40 years since he went back to Egypt and talked to the Pharaoh to let the Israelis go, Moses led these people in the desert through many challenges. He was the only name and man the Israelis had learned to know, to listen and to trust. But now he was dead, suddenly the Israelis had lost their only leader. If you were there at that moment, what would you do in that situation? Well, the Bible continues to tell us what God had done in that situation. Just as the Israelis had faced the change of leadership change, we as people of God need to expect changes in our life in the year to come.
2) But God continued to lead: ¡°The Lord said the Joshua son of Nun, Moses¡¯ aide: Moses, my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross this Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them, the Israelis.¡± (1:2)This is very important we all need to remember: life and everything else do change, but our God will continue to lead. God never depends on any human being, no matter how great he may be. God is the ultimate leader and he will always lead regardless of all changes in our world. Yes, we know, love and respect our leaders, but we never forget it is God we ultimately trust and follow.
3) God has a plan for your life: ¡°I will give you every place you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates all the Hittite country to the Great Sea on the west.¡± (1:3-4) This is the first time God measured where and what the boundaries for the people of Israelis. Most of the times, we enter a New Year without any idea what may happen, but God has all mapped out for our life. In fact, he has in mind for us lot more than we can understand just as more land than the Israelis had ever occupied. It is sad that we are less courageous to expend our potential to a fuller extend as God intended for us to have.
DIVINE SUPPORT FOR THE FUTURE: (1:5-9)
1) God promised his protection: ¡°No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave your or forsake you.¡± (1:5) Reading the rest of the Book of Joshua, we know that he had encountered many challenges, but God¡¯s presence had always been there to protect him, support him to victory after victory. No one may sail through life without any storm but God promises to be with us to protect us from all harm, human or otherwise.
2) God provided his a guidance: ¡°Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it, then you will be prosperous and successful.¡± (1:8) The Book of the Law, the Bible, was the guidebook for Joshua in his time and our guidebook in our time today. We are to read the Bible, to meditate the words God has spoken in it and follow everything the Book says, so we will be prosperous and successful. It is never our own wisdom or the tricks of the world that may make us prosperous or successful. We need to adhere to the teaching and principles from the Bible. Join Bible class and worship on Sunday morning, come to class of discipleship on Friday night, do your personal study each day, and you will not stray away from God¡¯s leadership.
3) God granted his courage: ¡°Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified. Do not be discouraged; for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.¡± (1:9) Fear is the number one enemy in our life particularly when facing enemies. But God promised to be with Joshua and he promises to be with us wherever we may go, whatever we may face. With God on our side, there is no room to be afraid. Focus on God and His presence, his power and protection, and be strong and courageous to face the New Year ahead of us.
GETTING READY FOR THE FUTURE: (1:10-11)
1) Work closely with helpers: ¡°So Joshua ordered the officers of the people.¡± (1:10) By Joshua alone, he couldn¡¯t do all things to move the millions of Israelis to cross the River Jordan. He needed to work with the leaders of the people. Joshua took leadership role by giving orders to the officers to get ready to cross the river. It is very important that we work closely with helpers God has placed around us, not to use them, but to work with them, to accomplish God¡¯s command.
2) Get all people participate: ¡°Go through the camp and tell the people: Get your supplies ready.¡± (1:11a) We are not talking about people¡¯s power, we are talking about rallying the people to follow God¡¯s lead. God had a plan. He had chosen leaders, He intended to give the people the Promised Land. The people needed to get ready their needs to receive God¡¯s blessing. God didn¡¯t promise to give the Land to Joshua or the officers, but the people. So, not just Joshua and the officers needed to get ready, the people also need to get ready as well. Without the full support of the people, they won¡¯t get into the Promised Land.
3) Get what God had promised: ¡°Three days from now, you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.¡± (1:11b) This is a very clear goal anyone could have set to rally the people to follow. God had promised the gift of this land to his children way back hundreds of years ago. Now is the time to receive that gift if the people will believe, get ready and embark to follow. Blessing of the Lord had been given in the Bible, what we need to do is get ready to receive them by following God¡¯s command through leaders He has chosen.
APPLICATION OF BIBLOCAL TRUTH:
1) Ready or not: Time is one of the things that pay no attention or respect to anyone because of social or economic status. Time always moves on regardless if you are ready or not. So, New Year is coming or is already here. It never waits nor ever delays. So, we have no choice but to be ready to welcome its coming and make best use of it for a brighter future. Those who are slow or don¡¯t care to prepare may suffer setbacks of missed opportunities. The choice is yours.
2) Need some help? God made plans for the Israelis as they faced new days and challenges in their early history. God was there ready to work with them for the best possible future. God didn¡¯t leave them alone to struggle by themselves without leadership, no supplies nor no plans. God is here ready to help you face the New Year. He has a plan, all the supplies to support you to face the unknown of the future. All you need to do is ask Him into your heart to be your Lord and Savior. Don¡¯t wait another day.