How we are going to be reading the book of Joshua: They were God’s people then… WE are God’s people now. The principles God is wanting us to live by are the same now as they were then
Today’s passage is about God’s people preparing to take the land they have been promised. It is also about committing to do it together (physical presence) Is there spiritual ground that you know is yours and yet you have not taken possession of it? Have you fallen short of your growth expectations and have not matured in your disciple walk like you thought you were going to? Have you considered that you have not grown as much as you can because you have not not been consistently, physically present with your fellow Spirit indwelt Christ followers? Perhaps what is holding you back is that you have not been present with your brothers & sisters as they face challenges.
I learned early on in my walk the value of ‘Showing Up’. Prior to coming to christ I was fine not going to church or small group… I could always find reasons to miss. Once Christ made me His I was drawn to gatherings of God’s people.
God’s word teaches that as Christ’s Body our lives must be connected, physically. Can you be part of a body and not ever be physically in the same place as all the other members of that body?
Your possessing of the Spiritual ground God is giving you is tied to the community He has placed you into. That ground has to be covered together with the rest of the body, physically together! Being there ‘In Spirit’ won’t cut it! 90% of discipleship is SHOWING UP! The devil’s favorite trick on you is to get you to not show up.
The people of Israel are now being commanded to take the rest of the land God has promised them. Three tribes have already been given their land. The leader God has appointed tells the people what they are to do. For some of them it means leaving the land they have been given to help their brothers & sisters possess THEIR promised land.
Today’s text has a clear lesson about following God’s appointed leaders. A lesson about being physically with your ‘tribe’ / church family / Body of Christ, and a lesson about how our eternities are connected thru Christ.
WE ARE BROTHERS AND SISTERS BY GOD’S SPIRIT, WE STICK TOGETHER!
BIG Themes of the Book of Joshua:
- Our obedience can fuel the miraculous
- We are to take possession of what God promises us
- Trusting God’s sovereignty enables us to be strong and courageous
- The exercise of true faith requires us to act
- Our disobedience can lead to disaster
- Leadership matters to all of us
- God always fulfills His Promises
How did last week end? “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” ~ God @ Joshua 1:9
Pt. 2: Unity of Physical Presence 1:10-18
10 Joshua then commanded the officers of Israel, 11 “Go through the camp and tell the people to get their provisions ready. In three days you will cross the Jordan River and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you.”
- Torch passed, marching orders given, time to get ready…3 days until GO TIME!
- They are not going to ‘take’ the land, they are going to possess what God gives
- There’s no spiritual ground you can ‘take’ on your own, God has to give it to you
12 Then Joshua called together the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. He told them, 13 “Remember what Moses, the servant of the Lord, commanded you: The Lord your God is giving you a place of rest. He has given you this land.’”
- Joshua reminds them of what has been agreed to back in Deuteronomy 3
- These three tribes already received their land, they are on it as they speak
14 “Your wives, children, and livestock may remain here in the land Moses assigned to you on the east side of the Jordan River. But your strong warriors, fully armed, must lead the other tribes across the Jordan to help them conquer their territory.”
- Your families and herds can stay here but you need to physically go with us
- They will actually be the ‘Vanguard’, the guys in front
- They helped you possess your land, you are going to help them possess theirs
- We are to play a role in the spiritual growth of others, to show up for them
15 “Stay with them until the Lord gives them rest, as he has given you rest, and until they, too, possess the land the Lord your God is giving them. Only then may you return and settle here on the east side of the Jordan River in the land that Moses, the servant of the Lord, assigned to you.”
- You can’t leave until the job is done! You got your land (rest), they get theirs
- Once your brothers have possessed their land you can go back home
- Physical presence is required…
16 They answered Joshua, “We will do whatever you command us, and we will go wherever you send us. 17 We will obey you just as we obeyed Moses. And may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses.”
- Absolute submission to Joshua; because of God
- God appointed Moses, we obey! God appointed Joshua, we obey!
- They are praying that God is with Joshua as He leads (The Lord YOUR God)
18 “Anyone who rebels against your orders and does not obey your words and everything you command will be put to death. So be strong and courageous!”
- Not only will they obey Joshua’s authority but they will kill anyone who doesn’t
- Because we are behind you: be strong & courageous
- Leaders need people to follow them well for them to lead well
- When people respect the authority God has placed them under, leaders do well
You (Christian) may need to prepare in order to possess new spiritual ground by following the leaders God has placed you under. All spiritual growth is God Given, your job is to make the most of what HE gives you!
Life as a part of God’s people involves sacrifice and a large part of that is showing up for others and being with people. You are not a functioning part of the body of Christ if you are not physically present when they gather.
Our spiritual destinies are tied together by the Spirit Christ puts in His followers, that means we stay together in hard times and we receive what God has for us together, in person.
God places each of us under spiritual leadership and He expects us to honor that leadership. We are to unite behind and be protective of the leadership God puts us under, this glorifies God.
Are you ready to cover some new spiritual ground? How would you determine that?
As a member of this church body, what can you give to others with your physical presence and care? Is this a priority in your life?
Are you convinced that God desires each of us to be in regular physical contact with the rest of the church body He has placed us in? If not, why? If so, how consistent are you about showing up?
How well do you support the leadership of the body God has placed you in? How might you do a better job of that? (be specific)
THE CHALLENGE: SHOW UP!