Monthly Archives: August 2020

From Moses to Joshua: Be Strong and Courageous

From Moses to Joshua

Deut. 31, 34 select verses; Joshua 1-2. In Deut. 31 we read a repeated statement to Joshua, “BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS.” This statement is also repeated in Joshua 1 in various ways five times. Obviously taking the reign and reins from Moses would be an overwhelming assignment from God. Moses had served God forty years. He was the Friend of God; He had a closer relationship than any human. Moses was not perfect we know, for even his own disobedience at Merabah with the “smiting the Rock” twice carried a severe consequence in that he would not lead the people of Israel into the Promised Land. Moses was the one who fought with Pharaoh to release the people for Egyptian slavery, he received the LAW on Mount Sinai, it was his leadership over the last forty years in the wilderness that keep the people safe and secure until a generation died. We can think what it must have been like for Moses, this great hero to hear – “You will not lead the people to crossover into the Land.” One act of disobedience? Really? This reinforces the doctrine that NONE are righteous, no not one. God does not bless disobedience. Moses even argues with Good to let him lead the people – finally God tells Moses, No and that it!

I have learned that in pastoral ministry I may want to lead the church to achieve memorable and monumental heights; but I was not the person, but I was preparing the people for the person who was coming behind me This is remarkably similar to John the Baptist and Jesus. While this can and does have a disappointing effect, I have to remember that this is not about my GLORY but God’s and HIS Kingdom. I like Moses and many pastors have been allowed to share some of God’s Glory in the work of the ministry. Moses and we have to remember this is the WORK OF GOD not man. So, Moses is told he is not going across the Jordan, but God does tell him I will let you see the LAND that I and giving to the people. In Deut. 32:48-52 is the recounting of the “Last Mountain” Moses would climb. Moses was the last of his generation to die before Israel went into the LAND. But he had one more mountain to climb. Moses is a leader and a servant of God; great is his testimony – but even though he was an icon in Israel; Israel had to move forward without him.

Now, think about all this and you Joshua have been anointed with the laying on of hands to succeed Moses. Okay, can you see the admonishment to Joshua to “Be Strong and Courageous?” Big shoes to fill right? No Joshua had his own shoes to fill. Just as God had trained Moses for his task, Joshua was also trained for his task. We know that Joshua was a great warrior and how he fought many battles in the Wilderness. This prepared him for what was ahead in the Promised Land. I am sure there have been many a preacher that took over from a long tenured pastor, and probably did so with fear and trepidation.

The wonderful word “As I was with Moses so will I be with you.” What a message! Joshua would go forth in a commanding leadership that was distinguished by a Conquering and Courageous Faith. Just as Joshua prepared the people to cross over; He had already put fear in the people in Jericho. Imagine that for 40 years, the Canaanite people lived in fear of the conquering people led by the Strong arm of God; and Israel never came to conquer for 40 years. This also speaks of the patience and mercy of God for the tribes – they had a choice to get out or be annihilated. Rahab’s story tells us of the fear that gripped the people. “We knew that your God was God.” Josh 2:8-10. Makes me wonder how many lands has God prepared for the Gospel to conquer, yet He cannot get His people to get out of the Wilderness and into the Promised Land?

I like Joshua, he had the mentality of a military general “Lead, follow or get out of the way!” Joshua did not have a business meeting to find out what the people wanted to do – He was commissioned to OBEY God not the people. This brings a great question to the surface – should we have business meetings? I know it is important to listen, but shouldn’t the command of God negate the wishes of the people. The Church was meant to go forth with the Gospel, not debate whether it is right or not. Joshua gave the people 3 days – get ready for we are going across the river into the Promised Land and leave this Wilderness behind! Oh, Joshua was 80 years old. Point You are not done until God says you are done.

In our day of 2020, I had so many grand expectations; I have not abandoned that vision. I do not know what lies ahead, but then neither did Joshua. Let us press forward to the high calling in Jesus. Most of all “LET US GET OUT OF THE WILDERNESS! Be strong and Courageous!

Leave a comment

Filed under 2020 missed passages

Blessing or Curse: You Choose

Deuteronomy 28-32

Deuteronomy 28 probably is one of the most significant chapters for its message to the New Generation crossing the Jordan into Jericho. It also is a significant warning to the whole nation about its future. The most important trait about a believer of Jesus Christ and Jehovah is obedience. Chapter 27 talks at length about the Curses on the people/nation if they disobey the Word of God. In Chapter 27:13-26 every verse begins with “CURSED IS HE.” Israel nor the believers throughout history can claim they did not know. God has provided extensive directions for living in this world. The problem is that humanity wants to live like the rest of the world in disobedience and flesh sensitive satisfaction.

In chapter 28 we find an extensive dialog about what will happen if the people of God follow the whims/worship of the Canaanite nations. What started out wonderfully under the leadership of Joshua, fizzled two generations later. Instead of being light and salt, the nation embraced the customs, cults, and carnality of the very people they were to dispose of from the Land.

We as believers today must heed the warning and the devastating results of disobedience. I find that in the CHURCH, our methods and practices are governed by what the LOST world will allow us to do. We must become a holy and devout people to God in Heaven and repel the inclination of trying to live “riding on the fence” with this world.

As the people of God, we must embrace our calling to be a “peculiar people” and obey God rather than man. We know the story of how Joshua and his generation, and the generation who witnessed the “acts of God” in taking the Promised Land; but we find that by the 3rd generation, Israel gets satisfied with “partial conquest” of the Promised Land and begins living with the Canaanite people groups.

This become a snare for the people of God. We are admonished that we cannot serve God and Mammon – in other words we can embrace the world and serve God simultaneously.

When we investigate the words of Deut. 28, they are more than a warning; the words are prophetic. I mean they are foretelling what will happen to the Nation of Israel. After a lengthy exposition on what the curses will be if they disobey; God brings an account of “witness” to the people. In Deut. 31:19-20; heaven and earth are witness against you today that I have set life and death before you – the blessing and the curse. Choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants “by loving the LORD God, by obeying His voice and holding fast to Him.” These are strong words; that were reaffirmed by Jesus when he said that we are to “Love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength” in Mark’s Gospel.

In Deut. 28 God reveals the story of Israel’s future. We find that because Israel would not obey God, but played the harlot, that they were overcome by the land. Point – darkness quells the people of God. The curses that were meant for the LOST were put on Israel. Israel was a rebellious and stiff-necked people, so are we. Instead of conquering the Promised Land, Israel was conquered. Instead of remaining in the Land, that sought after the god of Baal. Israel went into captivity after hundreds of years of disobedience. The Babylonian captivity [587 BC] came as fulfillment of Deut. 28. But look how longsuffering God was towards His people! Prophet after prophet was sent to remind and warn Israel of impending judgement – but the messages fell on death ears. Again, the prophecy of Deut. 28 comes to reality in AD 70 when Titus the Roman general destroys Jerusalem and the Temple. Even then Israel did not repent and return to the LORD.

So, here we are in 2020, pandemic and chaos abound across the globe. Will the people of God in this generation he the words that Israel did not? Will we continue to live like the world and be overcome with its darkness? When I read and reread this chapter I got convicted and overwhelmed with the judgment of God on disobedience. AT a time when it looks like evil is winning the battle, I have to ask the question to all of us – Where are the soldiers and warriors of the Cross? We cannot blame past generations for our disobedience today. We are accountable to the Father for “it is OUR WATCH.” Children of the Most High God – Put on your Armor and prepare for battle by prayer, obedience, and holiness.

Leave a comment

Filed under 2020 missed passages