Joshua 1:10-18 (Part 4) – Can We Be The New “Greatest Generation”?

Posted: May 17, 2017 in Book fo Joshua
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Joshua1:10-18 (Part 4 of 4)

Joshua’s Charge to the Israelites

Yesterday, at our church’s staff development meeting, one of the things that we talked about how we, as the leaders of the church, are responsible for creating the culture of our organization. It is us who must promote the values and the mission and the vision of the church. God has a specific mission and vision for our church and we are the ones who must give flesh and bones to that idea and make it a part of our own mission and vision for our individual ministries within the church. What are we hoping for God to do in our midst? Do we have a glowing dream of a glorious church going forward winning battles? Or do we lack a vision for the church? Or even worse our vision is on self-fulfillment? Without a vision, we will focus on how the church is around us and what we can get from it. We will copy whatever the latest fad is from other churches and try to be like other churches. Also, we can go down the road of just accepting things the way they are. Oh we can never do that – we don’t have the resources that nearby megachurches have. How is it that we can differentiate ourselves? Is there any hope for us? What is needed to make our church a model people for the Lord?

 

We must have a clear vision of what we want to do. If we do not know and believe in where we are leading our people how can we expect them to buy in. We must create the culture that we expect our organization to have. We must define that, live that, and educate the people that God has given in what that vision and culture of our church is. We must have a clear idea of what God’s will is for our church, what His desire is for us to move forward into the next phase of our development. We can do that only through prayer. It is through prayer that we know what God’s will is for our church. Then, once we know God’s will, we must be willing live that out on a daily basis. We must also be willing to accept what God points out in each of us as those areas in our life where we are not fully surrendered to Him. Just imagine what a people we could be at LifeSong if we as the leaders were fully surrendered, fully understanding of the purpose and mission that God specifically has for our one local outcropping of Christ’s church, and be able to communicate that to the people in such a way that they too have a burning desire to buy in to that mission and vision.

 

That is the question that we must answer. What is that made Joshua’s people the most awesome generation of the Israelite people. They accomplished so much. They were Israel’s greatest generation. The generations before and after this one in Israel were often destructive to themselves and kept them from being the best that they could be. It reminds me of the generation that we as Americans have labeled our “Greatest Generation.” They were the generation that built the America that my generation and succeeding ones were handed on a silver platter. This was the generation that was born during the depression years. This was the generation that either served directly in the world war to end fascist and evil tyranny or worked in factories that supplied the war effort. They all sacrificed for the greater good. They did without so that factories could be converted to build munitions and supplies for the war. It was a total commitment both in Europe and Asia and here at home by our people. They did it willingly. We gained victory because of that total commitment. This generation submitted themselves to the cause because they believed in the cause. And it was that solidarity of purpose that lead them to willingly sacrifice so that the war effort would catchup and surpass what needed to be done. We were not ready for a World War as we are now so the entire economy had to be converted to the war effort. Now, we have whole industries devoted to the war effort but not then. There was great sacrifice required. America did it through the greatest generation. It was that solidarity, ingenuity, willingness to sacrifice that made America such a dynamo after the war was over. America exploded with new ideas, new wealth, new everything after World War II and we became the world’s preeminent power – all because of a committed generation of people that we will never duplicate again.

 

That idea of being the greatest generation is what I think of today as I read through this passage a third time with a focus on Joshua 1:16. The whole passage of Joshua 1:10-18 says this:

 

10 So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: 11 “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘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.’”

 

12 But to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said, 13 “Remember the command that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you after he said, ‘The Lord your God will give you rest by giving you this land.’ 14 Your wives, your children and your livestock may stay in the land that Moses gave you east of the Jordan, but all your fighting men, ready for battle, must cross over ahead of your fellow Israelites. You are to help them 15 until the Lord gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land the Lord your God is giving them. After that, you may go back and occupy your own land, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you east of the Jordan toward the sunrise.”

 

16 Then they answered Joshua, “Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. 17 Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. 18 Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey it, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!”

 

In this passage, with particular focus on v. 18, we see that, when God commissioned Joshua, he was told three (3) times to be strong and courageous (see Joshua 1:6-7, 9) Here, Joshua was given the same kind of encouragement from the people. Apparently, he took God’s message to heart and found the strength and courage he needed in his relationship with God. So it is with us, any time we are afraid to do what is right, we must remember that strength and courage is readily available through our relationship with God.

 

In this passage, we see three things that we can lead us to be a church that is strong, courageous and a massive change agent for Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. We see a people that are fully obedient. We see a people that are dependent on God. And, we see a people that are acceptant of discipline.

 

Verse 16 tells us that the people willingly submitted to leadership of Joshua and told him that they would do whatever he commanded and would go wherever he sent them. They would not have followed Joshua if they did not believe in his leadership. They knew that he was a faithful child of God. Because they knew of the rightness of his cause, they were willing to follow Him. As leaders, we must be willing to submit ourselves to God’s will and live lives in such a way that we are known for being obedient to the Lord. Let us live lives that are based on biblical principles such that we inspire others to follow us where we lead. Let us lead in such a way that people trust our judgment. It is only through that trust that people are willing to submit to the leadership that we offer. We must also have a passion for what we are about to embark on doing for people to follow us. FDR inspired millions of Americans of the rightness of our cause in World War II. He could have framed in terms of national politics and how Germany was trying to change the face of the world political landscape – and it was! Rather, he framed in terms of tyranny and oppression and of how America stood for what was right and moral and decent. America bought into its role as the keeper of liberty for the world. Joshua was passionate and had a vision and the people followed because of the trust that they had in him. They trusted that he was a man who was after the heart of God and they willingly followed. Can we be that kind of people at LifeSong? Can we be that kind of leader that inspires people to do great things that have never been done before? Are we the kinds of leaders that the people trust as being submitted to God?

 

In this passage, we see a people dependent on God. In Verse 17 when they tell Joshua that they pray that God will be with him as God was with Moses. As leaders we must be dependent on God so as to example that to our people. We must seek God. They knew the Lord’s power and how Moses had led them into victory. They also knew they had no chance if God would not be with them as He was with Joshua. The Lord likes His people dependent upon Himself. Sometimes people trust leaders, but when the people of God trust God and follow God, then God is able to mightily use them. We as leaders must demonstrate this same dependence on God. We others see there leaders dependence on God, it inspires them to seek a deeper dependence on the Lord themselves. It is through our dependence on God that His greatness can be show through us. Shouldn’t we be so dependent upon the Lord that we wouldn’t want to live without Him? Why do we let jealousies, worries and selfishness get in our way? Why tolerate such unholy things when we could choose and be delighted with the best? Should we live our lives without His presence? I should hope not. He is our God and we want Him great in our midst.

 

In this passage, we see a people willingly submit themselves to discipline of the Lord. In Verse 18, we see the people tell Joshua that anyone who rebels against his orders and does not obey Joshua’s words will be put to death. This is kind of a drastic statement, but it does point out that they knew the nature of man. We have a tendency to compromise and end up choosing something less than the greatness that God has planned. We as leaders must examine ourselves for those areas of life that are not in complete submission to the Lord and deal with those areas. We must examine ourselves with the question, “Lord, is there anything in me that is hindering our church from achieving the greatness that God has planned for it?” Man, how many churches fall into this trap where egos and selfish desires get in the way of the greatness God had planned. Is there anything about me as a leader that would make God withdraw his blessing from our church. Let us examine ourselves and deal with the hard questions about ourselves as leaders? Remember, we will see later in Joshua where disobedience of one family in keeping the booty from a victory caused God to withdraw his protection from Israel in the next battle and they were beaten badly. Is there something that God needs to discipline me over? Am I willing to see it and allow God to take that part of my life into submission to Him? Am I willing to give up my pet sins so that God can greatly express Himself through my church? Let us pray that God reveals through prayer in each of our leaders what we need to put into submission to Him so that God can more fully express himself through a fully submitted church with fully submitted leaders.

 

What is it that we want? We want to lead people to be the greatest generation of Christ’s disciplines ever. We want to be change agents for Christ – the most impactful generation ever. We want there to be an explosion of evangelism in our midst such that people can only explain by giving credit to the greatness of the Lord. We want God to be glorified on a scale never seen before. We want to be the Joshua generation of the 21st century. We want to be the greatest generation that takes on a mighty, insurmountable task and wins victories in the name of the Lord. We face a world of tyranny and fascism against faith in Christ. We want to change the world. We want to be than generation that accomplishes and establishes a new world order for Christ Jesus. We want to be the generation that returns the world to the Lord. We want to be the generation that draws a line in the sand and says, as Jean-Luc Picard said about the Borg, “this far and no farther!” We will be the generation that ends the tyranny of the devil and leads people back to God. Let us be that greatest generation. It begins with prayer. It begins with submission. It begins with dependence on the Lord. It begins with sacrifices my selfish desires to the desires of God.

 

Amen and Amen.

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