We looked in the previous two weeks how Joshua was commissioned and appointed. So how does Joshua respond? He immediately jumps into action. He begins by giving orders to the officers of the people. Note, Joshua didn’t call a conference and test the popular opinion or form a large committee, no he immediately begins putting things in place and giving direction.
I get the feeling that he had spent the past few years planning and preparing for this moment, the Spirit of God was on him, he knew that the time to act was now, and he did not hesitate.
This is such a great lesson for us, we need to learn to act immediately when the Lord speaks to us and we have clarity of direction.
The longer we delay in doing what God calls us to do, the less likely we are to accomplish the task.
It is that old familiar word, procrastination. When God gives direction, it is because he knows that the time is now to do it. He does not give us a task and then leave it up to us to decide when we want to do it! Saying that you are willing to obey the Lord but then delaying in performing the task is a subtle form of hypocrisy. Procrastination is Satan’s sharpest and finest tool.
Joshua goes on to say in the next verse; “Get your provisions ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.’”.
What boldness! As we look at this 11th verse of Joshua chapter 1, there are 4 lessons we can learn;
- Firstly, the Children of Israel needed to prepare themselves, the journey ahead is going to be hard and strenuous. The lesson for us is clear, if we are going to move in obedience to God and move ahead in faith, we need to be well fed, well nourished (1 Timothy 4:6 ). God supplies our nourishment, he has given us his word, but we need to prepare ourselves, we are all to be students of the word of God. Meditating on the word of God is our source of sustenance for the battle that lies ahead.
- Secondly; the very common error and danger that we face is taking a promise from God and then doing nothing about it. God told Joshua and the children of Israel that he was going to give them the land that he had promised to their forefathers. They might have been tempted to sit back and look at the land flowing with milk and honey and say; “well it is a beautiful land and one day the Lord will give it to us. But until that time we will just wait here on the east side of the Jordan River.” No, they had to go in and claim the land, they had to fight for the land. A promise for the land was coupled with obedience to the will of God. The tragedy is that many people simply want to avoid going to hell and don’t really want to go to heaven. So they say a prayer and think that their eternal security is taken care of, that they have their ticket and don’t need to worry about that any more. My friends, the promised land was not meant to be looked at, it was meant to be taken and occupied. We will talk more about this in a few weeks. But the Christian walk is never one of standing still, we are either advancing towards the promises of God or we are retreating. There is no middle ground.
- Thirdly we read that Joshua tells the people to make ready because in three days they will cross the Jordan. He didn’t say, in three days we need to make some boats, or build a bridge in order to cross the river. No, he boldly declared; “we are going across the river, get ready!” We also know from Joshua chapter 4 that this took place in the harvest time and the Jordan was at flood stage. It would have made much more sense to everyone if they waited a few months and crossed the river when it was lower.
But Joshua had faith, he remembered what happened when Moses led them across the red sea, and how the Lord had parted the water so that the Children of Israel could pass on dry ground. Joshua was steadfast, he knew what God told them to do and he set about the task with no delay. Joshua had complete faith in the all powerful God who gave the instructions to him. When God tells you to do something, it is best to immediately take a step in faith, make a stand from which there is no going back. For some that is quitting your job, ending a bad relationship, or maybe it is enrolling in a class and paying the deposit. Whatever it is that God is telling you to do, make a move in faith.
4. And finally we see that Joshua tells the people that in three days they will cross over the Jordan. Remember that Joshua was a type of Christ, his name is the Hebrew translation of Jesus and his life points to the Messiah who would come and who would ultimately be crucified, but in three days he would pass from death to Life and provide a way for the salvation of all who would believe on his name. We have to place our faith and trust in Jesus in order to be saved. Faith in our new life in Christ sees ourselves the way that God sees us, covered by the atoning blood of Jesus. Walking in faith as a Christian, crossing the Jordan in faith allows us to stand in a different land by faith (Romans 6:4). Maybe you haven’t taken that first step yet, you are sitting here today and something deep inside you is stirring. You know that you have not made the life changing decision to make Jesus Christ the Lord of your life. I invite you today to take that step in faith, make Jesus Lord of your life, and begin to claim the land that God has promised to you.
So what are some of the reasons we don’t act immediately in obedience to God?
- Lack of faith – not believing the promises of God’s word.
- Lack of courage – fear of man – fear of failure.
- Lack of obedience – if God tells you to do something, just do it.