Last week we began a study about how God called upon His servant Joshua to lead His people into the land that He had promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses. We learned that Joshua had been an aide to Moses and when Moses died, The Lord told Joshua that he would be the one to lead them. In the first chapter of Joshua we see that The Lord tells him over and over, Joshua do not be afraid, be very courageous, do not be dismayed. This mighty warrior must have stood before God trembling in his heart at the thoughts of this task, otherwise God would not have told him over and over again not to be afraid. Joshua was embarking on a new adventure and mission in life and the thoughts of it was terrifying. God was leading him into his destiny and he had never been at that place before. This would require him to step out on faith and believing God to do what he could not do. Joshua knew that God is ever faithful, and so he trusted and obeyed God and step by step he followed in the path that God had prepared for him. God had promised that every bit of ground in which their feet touched, He would give it to them. They would have to step out by faith on The Journey to their promised land. It wasn’t going to be easy, but God was leading the way and He never leads His children wrong.
Handout: The Journey (Lesson 2)
Teacher's Guide: The Journey
Our lesson today takes us to the third chapter of Joshua.
1 And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over.
2 And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host;
3 And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it.
4 Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore.
Let’s look back at Joshua 3:4
Joshua 3:4 “Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore.”
You have not passed this way. You have never been this way before. It’s new to you so you must follow the one who knows the way. Those words do something to my heart. How many times in life have those who are following The Lord been asked to step out by faith, out of our comfort zones and go down a path that we have never traveled before? When we are lead by God to do this, it is the nature of the flesh to be uncomfortable and in an attempt to stop the plans God has for us, Satan will cause fear to begin to rise up in our hearts. I’m sure this is what happened to Joshua. God began reassuring him over and over, Joshua do not fear, do not be afraid, I will be with you wherever you go.
What causes that fear? Joshua had seen the miracles of God as he worked along with Moses. He knew what God could do. We have seen God work countless times in our lives, but almost every time we are asked to do something new and different, for most people that fear will begin to rise up in us. Fear is an outburst of emotion, rooted in unbelief. That isn’t pretty is it, but until we get really honest inside ourselves about our fears, we will never overcome them. We must call it what it is. Like Joshua you may be a person who trusts God, you believe Him, but the thoughts of a new direction bring up those emotions and questions. What if I fail? What if I do everything wrong. What if I end up looking like a fool? What if I lead someone in the wrong direction? What if I stop this job that is secure and take the one God is leading me to take. I have a family to think about and support. What if I make this move to a new location and things don’t work out? What if this new treatment for my illness doesn’t work? What if I lose this child that God is leading me to adopt. What if I say those words God is leading me to say and my friends and family get mad at me? What if I end this relationship that I know is not what God wants for me and I end up alone? What if I try to give up this addiction? What if I let go of this thing that has been a sure thing for me, and step out by faith to where God is leading me but I cannot see with my own eyes what is out there? There are so many “what if’s” that come to our minds when we are to venture out in a new direction.
Most of us have been raised up in many different cultures with a spirit of fear, some more than others so therefore we look at the negative side more than the positive. We know by studying The Word of God that this is from satan because God has not given us a spirit of fear.
2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
What if we could begin think positively and trust God? Suppose each time fear came up we could begin to turn those negative what if’s into positive ones. Instead of what if I fail, how about what if I succeed, or better yet, I will succeed! Think how much we could accomplish for God’s glory and how much fruit we could bear if we could just begin to let our faith grow by obeying God in all things. No, we cannot do anything apart from Christ, but He promises in His word that through Him we can do all things because He is our strength. (Philippians 4:13) satan and our fleshly natures say, no you can not, but God says, Yes, with Me, You Can!
I believe what we tend to do is forget that we are instruments for God to do His work through. When we are presented with a new path, we automatically start to think of ways of why we are not “qualified” to do the task. We forget that God doesn’t necessarily always call the qualified, but He does ALWAYS qualify the called! Thank You LORD!
The bible doesn’t say this, but God’s word says that we are all tempted about alike and Joshua being just a man, I believe this fear begin to creep up in his mind at the idea of him leading all these people to the land of promise. I believe Satan came to his thoughts and said, you can’t do this Joshua. You are not Moses, and the people will never follow you. What if you lead them wrong Joshua, what if you fail? You can not do it Joshua, You can not. Joshua had a choice. He could let this fear overcome and rule him, or he could live above those emotions and life skillfully and rely on what he knew to be true more than what he felt. Our feelings will get us into so much trouble so many times if we are not very careful. Most times, we have to live above our emotions and live what we know to be truth and that is God! God is truth. Whatever He says will not fail, ever, it will always come to pass. Joshua knew that Satan is a liar and that God has always been faithful. He knew in whom he believed. The great God, JEHOVAH!
God had said to Joshua, Moses my servant is dead. Now then, YOU and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. I will give you every place where 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. 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 you nor forsake you.
Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 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. 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.
Joshua had God’s promise that He would be with him so he stepped out on faith and he did not let that fear win! He chose to live above the emotions of fear and doubt and to trust God. I think he understood that what had made Moses successful would also make him successful. Moses had been great in the sight of all the people, but really the greatest thing Moses had done was to obey God and surrender himself to be the instrument that God would work through to deliver His people out of bondage. It wasn’t Moses who had parted the red sea, it was God. It wasn’t Moses who had caused manna to fall from Heaven to feed the multitude; it was JEHOVAH JIRA, our provider. Joshua knew that God would use him or that if he was not willing to obey God, someone else would enjoy his destiny! Joshua knew that on the other side of Jordan, was their promise from God and in order to live in that promise, they must cross over and walk on it! Joshua decided to step out by faith and to obey Almighty God. Beloved, we can do the same thing. The same promise that God gave to Joshua, is true for all His children. We do not have to fear because God is with us wherever we go. Wherever He is leading us, He will do what He says He will do. Over and Over, again and again God is faithful.
Children of God, we have a promise but in order to live in that promise we are going to have to cross Jordan. Jordan represents fear and the unknown. We are embarking on a journey that we have never been on before. You may be a Joshua on your Journey, leading others, or you may be one that is following, but either way it is going to take rising above the fear and stepping out on faith. You can do it! Through Christ you can do all things.
I think of The Apostle Paul and all the great work he allowed God to do through him. We tend to think of these men in the Bible as super heroes who were never afraid and all the things they did came easily but it was not that way. Let’s go to 1 Corinthians chapter 2. Paul writes this:
1 Corinthians 2:1-6
And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”
Paul said he came to them with much trembling! Dear brothers and sisters, there will be many times when we are afraid, and we will have much trembling when God tells us to embark on a new direction as we are on this journey, but we must, through Christ, do it anyway. If God has placed a dream, or new direction in your heart, no matter what anyone else says, no matter what anyone else does, you must, YOU MUST do it. Everything God does is for a reason and good purpose and you do not want to miss out on the promise. We can choose to live in our own pride and fear failure so much that we don’t even try, or we can know that missing the Promise, that missing God is far more painful than ever looking like a fool to men. I want my Promise! Don’t you??? Don’t you want your promise!? Don’t you want to live in that destiny that God has for you and has had for you since before the foundation of the world??? I want God’s favor more than the approval of men. God’s love is better than life! Thank You Lord! You are worthy to be praised! Hallelujah!
Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
Beloved, I urge you, do not be afraid. Do what God is leading you to do. Don’t miss out on the promise. He is doing a new and exciting work in you that will cause you to bear much fruit for His glory. Even if you don’t feel it now, you want it! You really do! There is NOTHING in this world worth losing the Promise that God has in store for you and me. He can take us much further than we could ever go alone, and to heights we have never even imagined. Sure the road ahead is unknown to you and me, but He is the creator of the pathway. When we obey God all roads lead to Him and that is what road I want to go down. We may have never passed this way before, but if we look very closely we will be able to see His foot prints because He has been there and if we stay in His foot steps, we will reach our promised land on The Journey.
Dear Righteous Father,
I bow before You yet another week in thanksgiving of who You are and all that You do. I thank You and praise You Lord for hearing and answering our prayers. Lord I ask today that You help us so rise above our emotions and follow the paths that You are leading us down no matter where they are. Lord we know that You have always been and will always be faithful and today we worship You and we trust You. Help us to always obey Your will. We will ever love, worship, and thank You. In the Mighty, All Powerful name of Jesus. Amen.