A few weeks ago while running at night (something I typically do) the rain began to fall. Feeling so proud of myself for being out there, the music on my play-list truly fit perfectly for this hardcore workout moment. Usually, I run with a headlamp on (it’s ok to chuckle at the thought of that) but I thought that since it was raining, I didn’t want to frighten anyone driving by so I turned it off. As the rain began to really come down, I felt as if I should be running faster and harder (yes pride was seeping in). All the sudden I lost my stepping, rolled my ankle, skidded down the asphalt and sat there feeling ridiculous!
When I got up, I had to convince myself that it was not broken and everything would be ok. Talk about bad timing; I couldn’t afford to be out with how much I had coming up on the calendar. As I got home, I couldn’t even walk on it. I immediately iced and elevated it. It was so painful, but I refused to go to the doctor fearing I would hear the words “It’s broken.” I spent the next few days home, nursing it back to health. In the stillness, I began working on preparing my notes for a conference I would be speaking at in the next couple weeks.
As I sought the Lord about what He would have me share on while in North Carolina, I felt driven in a million directions. I understood why my mind was so crazy; my life seemed to also be going all different directions. My plate has been so full with so may different ministry opportunities. Interesting to note, the last thing I posted on my social media before this happened was, “I’m feeling spread so thin.”
I am one who If not busy, I soon become quite restless. So not being able to run, surf or even walk for that matter you could see how quickly I started feeling restless and down. I knew God was allowing me to have some time to rest; yet here I was not focused, not able to do what I needed to. I really felt defeated and you know when you are down, the enemy loves to have a hay day with putting lies in your mind. I started wondering if I should cancel my trip because I wasn’t sure what to share on, I felt inadequate and to top it off, I couldn’t walk.
I’m sure you have heard enough about my truly minor problem but I soon began to see that this was a battle I was in and it was far beyond me. Kauai in the past month faced some of the worst flooding we have seen in years. It one week we had 50, yes 50 inches of rain. The day before I was to leave for NC it was a torrential down poor all day. As I went into town to the school I work at; I had to drive through a flooded town. The water level was up to the car doors. I was one of the last cars through, before they closed the road. I thought by the time I headed home the road would be opened again.
The storm never let up that day and as I headed home there were mud slides, roads washed away and no way for me to get home. I had nothing for my trip to NC and no way to get the things needed to travel. I sat in my car for hours praying for the roads to open with no avail. My dear friend Cherie Hamilton called me. She said, “Sarah I feel like you still need to go to NC!” She did not even know that I was debating on not going. I thought she’s crazy; I have nothing!
As I went to a friend’s house that night, I was up talking to the Lord, telling Him all the reasons why I could not go. I thought He must not want me to go and this must all be a sign. In the wee hours of the morning, I heard His still small voice. “Sarah, if I called you to go without all your comforts, would you go?” In my heart the initial thought was no, I need my things. I began to feel as the rich man in the Bible felt, when God asked him to sell all he had and follow Him. I did not want to be that guy. I wanted to be willing to say yes to obeying the call I knew months earlier God had placed on my heart, when I first prayed about going to NC. I knew He wanted me there! So I said, I will go Lord, with nothing! As I was on the plain I was reading in Joshua; the things he faced in following the call, blew me away!
In a number of ways, the preparation for invasion and the conflict that lay before Joshua and the people begins in chapter 1. It is significant that first, God speaks and commissions Joshua (1:1-5) and then calls him to be strong and courageous (1:6-9). In view of this word from God, Joshua speaks to the people and gives them instructions for preparing to cross the Jordan in three days (1:10-15). This is followed by the response of the people which, of course, had its source in the Word of God (1:16-18). God’s revelation should always be followed by a response to what He is calling us to do.
The Commission Given (1:1-5)
1 Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying, 2 “Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. 3 Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun, will be your territory. 5 No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.
The victory and possession of the land which follows is a direct result of the Word of God and of man, in this case Joshua, hearing and responding to His Word. This should show us that there is no victory or chance for us to experience the blessings of our new life in Christ apart from the Word of God. Whenever any believer begins to turn away from the Word weather it is from indifference, apathy or whatever reason, he is turning away from the Lord and into defeat. It would have been very easy to ignore what the Lord was calling me to do, but I refuse to allow my selfishness to turn me away from God and His calling. What are you allowing to defeat you in your walk today?
With the mention of the death of Moses, Joshua is then told, “Now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people.” The words “Now therefore arise,” teach us the truth that no man can live the Christian life by keeping a set of laws or taboos. While the Christian life involves obedience to the principles and commandments of the Word, it is so much more. It is a life to be lived by faith in the power of God. We simply cannot live the Christian life in our own energy or by our own determination. The Christian life is not just being Mr./ Mrs. Nice or merely keeping a set of Christian principles and rules. It is a faith relationship with God to be lived out in the power of the Spirit and in the light of the Word. What step of faith is God calling you to take today; is it leaving behind all your positions to follow Him? Nothing is more satisfying in this life then to follow Christ.
With the Words, “arise, cross this Jordan,” the Lord is saying, “get out of the desert and move on into Canaan.” God’s will for the believer is never in the wilderness. It is in Canaan, the place of deliverance and favor. “Arise, cross” by the parallel of New Testament says, “take up your armor, stop trusting in yourself, trust me and move out.” When I was finally willing to be obedient and go without my things, God in His grace, provided a way. Literally hours before I needed to be at the airport my friend called me and suggested that I have a couple girls from the youth group (who were on the other side of the closed road) go to my house, pack a back pack with some necessities, then have them meet us at the river. He then was willing to cross the raging river (I love the correlation of crossing the river) to get my things and bring them back. God has promised to supply for all our needs, but He needs us to be willing to count the cost and say yes to follow Him.
In verse 5, Joshua is given the promise, “no man will be able to stand before you,” but this promise is also a warning. While the land was theirs for the taking, it would not be taken without conflict or battle. And likewise, as the land of Canaan was full of fortified cities and enemies that needed to be driven out, so the Christian life is a life of conflict with enemies, which must be overcome. Though the outcome is assured if we claim God’s sufficiency and the saving life of Christ, we must still do battle and reckon with the fact of the enemy throughout this life. This is a wake up call, a reality that must be faced: life is full of battles and conflicts. We wrestle with the flesh (indwelling sin), with the devil and supernatural powers of darkness, and a world that is antagonistic to God, to His Word, and to godly living.
Nevertheless, the positive side is that these words, “no man will be able to stand before you …” are also a promise of continued deliverance in battle after battle after battle. Because of the immeasurable sufficiency of the saving life of the Christ, there is no enemy we can possibly face which the Lord (our Joshua) has not already conquered. Our need is to understand what He has already done for us through His Word.
Satan’s power has been broken and we can resist his deceptions and attacks. Though sin still dwells within or the flesh and is still active in our members, its power over us has been broken through our union with Christ in His death and resurrection. This means the victory is ours because of the cross!
I was able to see the victory of Christ while I was speaking in North Carolina. God moved in ways I would have never imagined and as I saw Him do that, I better understood why I faced so much opposition in getting there and why I had such difficulty clearly knowing what it was God wanted me to speak on. In our insufficiency comes God’s sufficiency! As I shared with about 300 kids at a breakfast in NC, I saw close to 40 kids raise their hands to receive the Lord. I also saw God break down racial boarders that are clearly still seen in the South, especially in the churches. He moved to unite the Church like only He could. God does not desire division in the church. It was so refreshing and a blessing to fellowship as the BODY of Christ, the way He has intended it to be. God moved and the enemy did not win!!
But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24