Peninsula Community Church
August 18, 2019
Joshua 1:1-4 After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses.”
I love the Bible and I love how Scripture speaks to our spirit and to our soul in our times of need. I love how God gives us answers to the questions we have in life when we focus on God’s Word. Through Scripture we are encouraged and we see God’s grace through the myriad of surprises, disappointments, and changes that occur in our life. The passage before us today is no exception.
In the almost nine years I have been here, if you have learned anything about me, you will know that whatever passage we are dealing with in the moment tends to be my favorite passage, because I am in love with God’s word. For me, I have always loved the story of Moses. It is a story of redemption, salvation, and fulfilled promise. Even though this verse focuses on Joshua and his new leadership role, this is also Moses’ story.
As you will remember by reading the story, we find that Moses was born during a season of upheaval and turmoil for the Jewish people (Exodus 1:12-14). There had been an edict given to the midwives that every male born to Hebrew women were to be killed at birth (Exodus 1:15-16). The purpose was to control the growth of the Hebrew people. But there was a problem. The midwives feared God more than they feared Pharaoh. Because of this conviction they purposely disobeyed the command to murder these babies. As a result, we find that Moses was born and Moses’ mom loved him and she hid him in a home made basket among the bullrushes at the river’s edge. She fully trusted God for his protection and his safety (Exodus 2:3). As you read the story, we find that Pharaoh’s wife finds him and takes him into her home as her own child (Exodus 28:10). This is a abbreviated story but encourage you to read the entire story for yourself and draw your own conclusions.
Through this story we come to understand that God was planting Moses into the Egyptian culture and environment. In the moment that Moses’ mom placed Moses in the little boat into the bulrushes that plan was not realized, but it was to be seen in a future context. As Moses grows while he was engaged in the Egyptian culture, he had not forgotten his roots. God had planted Pharaoh’s sister at the right place at the right time. As a young man he was a protector of the Hebrew people. When Moses found one of Pharaoh’s men beating one of the Hebrews, Moses defended the Hebrew man against the guard to the point of murdering him (Exodus 2:11-12). This led to a transition in Moses’ life. From Egypt he fled to the back side of the desert (Exodus 2:15) where he would spend the next 40 years in preparation for his final task here on earth. He was to be the deliverer of the people of Israel.
So, as we consider these things let me make a couple of points here. The first point we have to consider is this. We need to understand that God never wastes anything. Even when we do not realize it God is using what we are going through to mature us, define our purpose, and help us be more like Him. God placed Moses in Pharaoh’s home, so that he would be immersed in the culture, so that when the time came he would understand and know how to precede into the future promise of God. He knew the inner workings of the government and he was able to navigate the pitfalls he might encounter when he returned to do God’s work. God also placed Moses in the wilderness so that he could be trained in the ways of survival because God already knew he would be tasked to lead the children of Israel through the wilderness. Do you grasp that this morning? Whatever you have experienced or what you are experiencing, even in this moment, is not wasted by God. He will use it for His glory, if we allow Him to do so. That is the grace of God at work in us. It is the power of God that manifests His will in us and through us.
Secondly, God is never surprised at the transitions that occur in our life. While we might be surprised, God is not surprised and most of all He is not worried. In fact, in Moses’ life we see that God was orchestrating His will and He was positioning Moses for more than he could ever imagine. So many times transitions rock our world, but God’s world is not rocked. In fact, God is never rocked by the things that happen in our life. Remember God is never surprised.
Thirdly, God’s purpose does not end with a transition. That is where we pick up today. Notice that God speaks to the new leader, Joshua, to let him know that good things are ahead. Just because Moses is not in the picture anymore the vision God had for Israel does not cease. In fact, I would suggest that in the transition of leadership from Moses to Joshua, the vision in fact was becoming more of a reality than it had ever been before. Moses had brought them to the promise land, but he was not to take them in. God had a new leader in mind and that leader was Joshua.
If you remember it was God’s plan all along for Israel to possess the land that had been given to them. It had been the plan of God all along to establish a nation that would go after God with all of their hearts. God wanted a nation that would exhibit the love, grace, and power of God through their lives and through their obedience to God’s word and His commandments. That did not end with Moses who gave the reigns of leadership over to Joshua.
It is important to note that the people of God were to go into the Promised Land together (Joshua 1:2). It was not a time to bail or run but to remain faithful in following God into the place of promise and the place where God would be glorified. I challenge you today to remain faithful and commit to go into the promised land that God has for PCC. Commit to be a part of the success of what God is doing here in a church in the cornfield. Commit to be a part of what God is doing here in this place in the days to come. If you have not been engaged spiritually or financially before become engaged now for the kingdom and the future of this church.
Fourth, with transition comes a promise. Notice the promise that God gave Joshua. God made this incredible statement. “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses.” Here is the deal. God has a promise and He will fulfill that promise. This church will grow. This church will continue to be an effective part of this community. This church will continue to be a force to be reckoned with. That fulfillment is not dependent on a person but on God’s plan and His purposes. That is not to say that leadership is not important because it is, but our dependence must be on the God of the promise, always.
So what do we do during times of transition? Let me give you three things. First, we must trust in the Holy Spirit. Trust is a major factor in navigating the things we confront. That is why the Bible is replete with passages that encourage our trust and hope to be fully positioned in Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit to work out all things for His glory. One of my favorite passages is this. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). The Holy Spirit gives us the inner peace that takes us by the hand and assures us that all will be well. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God (Psalm 20:7). Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday (Psalms 37:3-6).
Notice the wording of Joshua 1:1. The lord speaks to Joshua and brings confirmation to him that this is all God’s plan and nothing has changed in terms of the promises of God. While waiting to see what God is doing, we trust in God. While making plans for the future, we trust God. While doing what we need to do, we trust God. While we seek God for what He will do, we trust God. Trust and obey for there is no other way.
We must believe that God is greater than our transition. It is in times of transition that we learn how big our God is. I have preached so often that God is bigger than anything we face. How big is God? He is big enough and He will be big enough now and into the future. In preparing for this I came across this quote. “In seasons of transition, we are tested and stretched by new circumstances and relationships, and it can be tempting to look back and cling to the certainty and comfort of the last season while steeling our emotions against the uncertainty of what’s to come. But the Lord calls us to move with Him through the seasons of life and trust His work and timing.”
Finally and foremost, this has been and continues to be God’s church which is positioned here in this place to accomplish God’s will and purpose. Do not forget that what He has begun in you will be completed. Listen to Paul’s words of affirmation in this regard. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6). Pastors may come and go, people may come and go, but God’s will and purpose will not change.
Let us pray!
For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/messages.
Copyright © 2019 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom