Embracing What's Next

The Book Of Joshua  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Joshua 1:5–9 ESV
5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Introduction

If God has called you to it, God will see you through it. God’s faithfulness gives us the confidence to embrace his assignments. The Lord’s people must embrace a difficult assignment if they are to reach God’s intended destination. God was bracing Joshua and Israel for what would be a seemingly impossible assignment. His exhortation to courage and strength was a proactive attempt to dispel the fear that comes with divine purpose. At best, the success of Israel in these next chapters was unlikely. You have the young leader Joshua, who must fill the shoes of Moses. You have the children of Israel who must traverse difficult geographies and conquer hostile enemies. Sometimes, God’s assignments feel impossible.
So difficult are the things God often asks of us, it is not uncommon for us to be filled with fear and trepidation as a result of the assignment. God treats the temptation of fear proactively by challenging the disposition of Joshua and Israel as this new assignment awaits. We should not fear seemingly difficult orders. The faithfulness of God is motivated by the word of God. His allegiance is tethered to his word and it cannot be overcome by his enemies.
Why then are we often intimidated by difficult assignments?
Perhaps we lack confidence in fulfilling God’s orders because we don’t understand God’s plans. Perhaps there is something that God has been calling you toward and fear has caused you to decline the opportunity to take another step toward God’s desired destination for you.

Understanding The Calling (Joshua 1:5)

Joshua 1:5 ESV
5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.
If we are to find success in the assignment God has called us, to we must understand our calling is his plans, not our own. God is pledging to be a divine companion that is consistently dependable. Understanding calling means recognizing that we are the instruments God is using to fulfill his plans. The emphasis of calling should not be selfish, or defined by how we think God wants to glorify us. Rather the emphasis of calling is on what God wants to do through us, in order to glorify himself.
In Joshua 1:5 the Lord promises Joshua the same thing he promised Moses, a consistent presence that will will allow him to overcome his enemies. This consistency points Joshua to a view of calling that is bigger than the leader of the Israelites. He is being called as The man who will continue a work that is bigger than him. Joshua was being called to a work that did not start would Joshua and would not end with Joshua. The Old Testament provides a narrative of God working to redeem a chosen nation. This story isn’t about Joshua, rather it is about what God is going to do through Joshua, and that is why he is called. The consistency between God’s promises to Moses in Deuteronomy and his promises to Joshua in the book of Joshua points us to the purpose of each of their callings, which was God’s own plan.
We must understand that when it comes to the question of calling, what are we called to do. Each of us New Testament saints have been called out by God. We have not been called to satisfy our own wills. We have been called to satisfy his will. When we walk in that calling, then he will make our enemies our footstools, and then will he prevent weapons formed against us from prospering. Courage comes from knowing that God protects the called, because the called are part of his plans. You were called to this.
Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Understanding The Commitment (Joshua 1:6-7)

Joshua 1:6–7 ESV
6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.
God is committed to the called, and the called must be committed to God. In this covenant arrangement there are some expectations that Joshua and Israel must honor. Fidelity is a condition to a successful partnership with the God. This is the kind of arrangement that works for God. We should view our relationship or arrangement through the lens of what works with him, not what works for us. God has assured of his commitment in that he would never leave us nor would he forsake us, see see Joshua 1:5. Then again reminding us that he would be with us wherever we go, see Joshua 1:9. He’s given us his commitment, now he’s asking for our commitment in return.
The only way we can successfully commit ourselves to God’s plans is by faithfully following God’s word. In Joshua 1:6-7 the Lord emphasizes obedience as a precondition to a successful assignment. He is very precise and decisive in his expectations. He uses words like, “be careful to do according to all the law Moses commanded.” He also says not to turn to the right nor to the left. He says, “meditate on it day and night”. These words speak to the depth of commitment that is expected of the Lord. The object of the commitment here is the Book of the Law that the God had given Moses to give to the people in Exodus. (Exodus 20:22-23:33) Because we have so many resources and so many options these days it’s hard to imagine there being only one way to arrive out the destination God has plotted for our lives, but he makes is very clear that commitment to his word is the only way.
Faith demands fidelity to God’s word. Commitment can be a scary thing, but these words are meant to encourage us, not frighten us. He assures us by stating that success comes after commitment.

Understanding Success (Joshua 1:8-9)

Joshua 1:8–9 ESV
8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
The fruit is guaranteed if we trust the plan. The Lord says to Joshua that if you are careful to do ALL that is written, then and only then you will make your way prosperous and have good success. God promises prosperity, it just may not be the kind of prosperity you have in mind. Success and prosperity are things that we spend a large majority of our lives chasing only to find out that it is always just out of reach. It is not that success and prosperity are unattainable. It has more to do with the version of success and prosperity we are trying to attain.
Success isn’t about money or things, because even those who don’t know the Lord can have money and things. The frustration of the Psalmist in Psalm 73 shows us that it sometimes feel as though the wicked are more prosperous than us. But success and prosperity specifically in this instance have everything to do with arriving at the place that God has prepared for us. This is an exhortation to Joshua and Israel that if they are obedient then they will claim hold of the possessions that God will give them. Success is about striving to obtain what God has promised to give. Because God’s promises are certain, this idea of success is much more realistic and obtainable. God promises to give Israel Canaan if they follow his plans. In Deuteronomy God refers to Canaan as a place of rest. (Deuteronomy 12:9)
When you exchange the world’s definition of success for God’s definition of success you will become a lot less anxious. You will enjoy this journey a lot more. You will experience a type of peace and contentment that cannot be found anywhere else. This is the difference between leveraging God for prosperity and finding prosperity in God. It is a desire to have what the Lord has for you.
Psalm 1:1–3 ESV
1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

Conclusion

The Lord will stick with you, you just stick with him. I can’t say if you stick with him, because I have too many instances where I wasn’t faithful but he remained faithful. However, the only way you can arrive at your next is by walking with him as he walks along side you. It requires courage and resolve. It requires an understanding of the calling and commitment, but the end thereof leads us to a place of peace and prosperity.
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