i got sick. i had way too much to do over the new year’s weekend. every time i sat down to write, i fell asleep.
some of that was from the medication. most of it was because i’m getting old.
you know what they say about excuses…
anyway, i really struggled to prepare my sermon for this past sunday. part of the reason is because i have really grown accustomed to preaching through a text, and when i venture away from the flow of the book or passage i’m preaching from, i just wander.
it will be good to get back to the sermon on the mount this week. but it was good that my wandering took me to the story of joshua last week. here’s a reminder, from when joshua took over the final leg of leading the israelites into the promised land (joshua 3:1-17), of how to move forward:
head directly into the challenges that confront you. after the spies had returned to tell joshua that jericho was ready to be seized, joshua rose early the next morning to begin the conquest. we don’t like challenges, but ignoring them doesn’t make them go away. face your difficulties (whether they are people or situations) early. don’t let them linger.
follow the wise counsel of others. the israelites listened to the priests and moved forward. i’m not talking about people having spiritual authority in your life (like the priests obviously did in this story)…i’m just saying that god has probably put some good, wise people in your life for a reason…and you ought to start listening to them. we often place way too much trust in their own instincts or the counsel of immature or ungodly people. for the record, godly counsel usually places the bar higher…
you’re heading into the unknown. but you’re not alone. as the israelites crossed the jordan into jericho, they knew they had never been there before. but they were told to follow the ark of the covenant. the chest was the visible presence of god leading the way. we don’t have a chest, but we do have the word…and god is still present with us, leading as he always has. it’s probably time to get more familiar with him and his word if you intend to follow.
make yourself acceptable for worship. they were told to consecrate themselves. that means they were told to get rid of the sin that would hinder them and hold them back from being what they needed to be as they headed into battle. what’s holding you back? as you move forward right now, what baggage are you carrying that is weighing you down and causing a crippling effect on your spiritual journey. get rid of it.
trust the promises of god. god had never let them down. god had always been faithful. he was not going to betray them or leave them alone. the consistency of god’s provision in the past gave them confidence for the future. the same is true for us.
saying you trust god, but taking no action, is really no faith at all. let’s face it. faith is risk. the waters of the jordan didn’t part until the priests put their feet in the water. until they waded in. at some point, you gotta get off the fence. you gotta step out of the boat. you gotta let go of the rope. and wade in the water.
you know what i’m going to say.
you know there are some things you need to do in your spiritual journey. nobody needs to tell you what they are.
so do them.