Everyone Comes to the Edge

On The Verge  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Possess your purpose

So today we are starting a new series called on the Verge. On the verge of what you may be thinking. Well something great. A life of trust and faith in God. On the verge of a place where He directs your steps and you follow because you have given God your complete trust.
God is calling us to a life of trust and faith. A place where we may not understand the full measure of where we are going or what we are doing. But His ways are good and right for us and we can know He will be with us every step of the way.
Now everybody in here knows what a GPS is right? Who knows what that stands for? We take it for granted now because it’s on our phones and we use google maps to get us to where we are trying to go. In the old days we had to use atlas’s and road maps, and before that they used the sun and the stars. GPS can go wrong though. There was a group of 26 travelers trying to get to the Grand Canyon from a national park. The GPS took them on the shortest route but it was dirt roads and sand roads and cliffs and they had to abandon a vehicle and call for rescue.
This goes to say that our lives can be a lot like that. We find ourselves on the verge of a cliff by using a GPS is one thing. We all have those on the verge moments in our lives. We are going to talk about moments when we are on the verge. Sometimes we are on the verge of something great or beautiful. Other times we are on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Whatever it is we will all find ourselves on the verge.
And sometimes, it even feels like God leads us to the verge. That’s because He does. He led the Israelites to the Edge of the Red Sea. He led Esther into the presence of the king. He drove Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego past the place where the fire’s heat was fatal. God is not afraid to lead us to the verge.
So, the question isn’t whether we will find ourselves on the verge – it’s what we will do when we’re there. In this series, we’re going to look at three of the biggest challenges we face when we’re on the verge – the challenges of giving up, of giving in, and of giving out. But before we dig into these challenges, we’ll discover today what we need to do whenever and wherever we come to the verge.
Now let me give you some background for our scripture today so it makes a little more sense.
In this series, we’re going to look at a group of people who were on the verge. God had promised His people, the Israelites, a homeland. But the Israelites kept giving in and giving out and even giving up in their quest to take possession of this Promised Land. The Israelites spent 40 years wandering the desert waiting for God to lead them into the Promised Land. They spent 40 years on the verge.
Moses was the leader God had chosen to guide the Israelites during this time, but he too had to wait to enter the Promised Land. The book of Deuteronomy ends with Moses going up on a mountain that overlooked the Promised Land so that he could see it as God had promised. But because Moses had disobeyed one of God’s direct commands, he could not enter the Promised Land during his life. He was left on the verge.
Joshua replaced Moses as the leader of the Israelites, and this new leader was charged with finally leading these people on the verge into the land God had promised them. We find Joshua’s call in chapter 1. Then in chapter 3, Joshua led the Israelites to the verge of the Promised Land – a boundary called the Jordan River.
Now let’s read Joshua Chapter 3 verses 7 through 17

7 The LORD said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. 8 And as for you, command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, ‘When you come to the brink of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.’ ” 9 And Joshua said to the people of Israel, “Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God.” 10 And Joshua said, “Here is how you shall know that the living God is among you and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites. 11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is passing over before you into the Jordan. 12 Now therefore take twelve men from the tribes of Israel, from each tribe a man. 13 And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.”

14 So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, 15 and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), 16 the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. 17 Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.

So a lot of people will tell you that the Israelites waited for 40 years to enter the promised land. But I’m gonna tell you that is was much longer than that. Yes they wandered for 40 years after leaving Egypt but what about the 400 years of slavery before that. I bet those folks yearned for the promised land.
Now they are at that place that we all get to ....They are on the VERGE. They’ve waited so long and looked forward to and wished and hoped and finally they are footsteps away. But between them and the promised land is a raging river. So what do they do. They didn’t have boats, rafts, life jackets, or a zip line to cross it. The only thing they could do was to rely on the promises of God and His word and what He said to Joshua.
What’s interesting here is that although God promised to stop the rivers waters from flowing the Israelites had to make the first step. In verse 7 God tells them I am with you as I was with Moses. And He performs the same type of miracle to prove that He is still with them.
We get to read on and see what they did with there moment of being on the verge. They listened to God’s voice and did what He told them to do.
Now let me ask you this question…Has anyone in here ever been bungee jumping? You may not know this but there are a couple of different ways you can pay someone to let you jump from a high place. The first is bungee jumping.
As you all probably know, the jumper is attached to a giant rubber band at their ankles. They then jump, hurtling towards the earth until the bungee cord snaps them back up before they connect.
You can also try base-jumping. In base-jumping, the jumper jumps from a high point with a parachute. It’s similar to skydiving, just off a (perfectly good) cliff.
When we think about these two kinds of leaps, one is really like flying, and one is not. When you base jump, you’re genuinely on your own. It’s up to you to open the parachute, and it’s up to you to land safely. But when you bungee jump, you’re not flying. The cord keeps you from hitting the ground, and you need help to get off of the cord when your jump is over. Today, we’re going to think about the difference between these kinds of leaps as we talk about what it’s like to be on the verge.
The picture of the Israelites reminds us that we all live on the verge. God has big dreams for us, just as He had big dreams for the Israelites. God has a purpose for us, just as He called the Israelites to move into the Promised Land. But God also wants us to possess our purpose, just as He wanted the Israelites to possess the land He had promised them.
It is this tension – between the promise and the possession – that leaves us on the verge. The Israelites had to follow God out of Egypt, stepping through the Red Sea. They had to follow God through the desert. They had to trust Him with their food source, with their protection from enemies, and with His actual presence among them as they traveled. And here, they had to step into the raging rapids of the Jordan River. Time after time, they had to move from being on the verge and go over the Edge so that they could take the next step toward the promise God had for them.
The same is true for us. We live on the verge because God always calls us to the next step. And no matter what our next step is, we’ll face the same kind of fears and traps that the Israelites encountered.
I want each of you to understand these things:
When these things happen, we need to recognize that they are natural offshoots of being on the verge. We need to use these emotions to remind us to take a timeout because God wants to say something to us in these moments on the verge.
Just as God was with the Israelites on this step of their journey, God is with us on the next stage of our journeys. We don’t have to stay scared or scarred or sheepish, because the God who can stop a raging river is with us as well.
So, the question we come to today (and then take on in the rest of the series) is what each of us will do when we find ourselves on the verge of the next step in our journeys with God. Will we give up or give in or give out? Or will we take a timeout, listen to God, and then act on what He says as we seek to possess the promise, He has given us. In other words, when it’s time to leap, stop, and listen to hear God speak.
The first thing God wants to say to us on the verge is this:
Cut the cords.
When you’re on the verge, and it’s time to leap, we must let go of our ropes and jump. We can’t be satisfied just to bungee jump; instead, we need to base jump. That’s because a bungee cord will always pull you back and keep you from truly soaring.
Over the next few weeks, we’re going to talk about cords that can keep us from taking the leap God wants us to take. And we’re going to discover how God wants us to cut those cords. But today, remember this: when it’s time to leap, stop and listen to hear God speak. Then we cut the cords.
When there’s a disaster that leaves many people injured, medical professionals go into a procedure known as triage. The fundamental goal of triage is to assess which patients will benefit from the most immediate treatment so that most people can be helped. If a patient has minor injuries, he has to wait for a patient with significant injuries to be treated. Broken arms can’t be set if someone is bleeding out from a gunshot wound. Headaches take back seats to heart attacks. The triage system is all about assessing where patients are quickly so that the most appropriate treatment can begin for patients who are on the verge of living and dying.
Think of this On the Verge series as triage. Over the next three sessions, we’ll diagnose some problems people have when they’re on the verge, and then we’ll talk about the best things for us to do to cut those cords. We’ll use three different vital elements of triage to help us understand what we can do to cut those cords when we’re on the verge.
Everyone comes to the verge. We see it with our ancient brothers and sisters, the Israelites. And it’s also happening now. And being on the verge of our next step can leave us excited, terrified, vulnerable, questioning, or even damaged.
But being on the verge also gives us a story.
Maybe we’ll become the people who walked through the raging river on dry ground.
Maybe we’ll become the people who found greatness instead of backing down in fear or failure.
Maybe we’ll stop and listen to hear God speak, and perhaps we’ll cut the cords.
And when we do, maybe we’ll realize like never before that God is with us, jumping alongside us, ready to launch into what could be in our lives.
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