Joshua 3:1-17 (Part 4) – The Miracle of the Door Hanger and the Miracles Before & After

Posted: May 24, 2017 in Book fo Joshua
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Joshua 3:1-17 (Part 4 of 4)

The Israelites Cross the Jordan

 

Why is it that people who do not believe in God either miss His miracles or try to explain them away as random events. They do not believe that there is a God who is interactive with the world in which we live. Everything is unrelated to them. Everything is random. How sad of an existence must it be for those who do not believe in God! To them, everything is just capricious randomness with no direction, no point, and no connection between events that are leading us somewhere under the guidance of a higher power. There are events in my life that are not parting the Red Sea or parting the Jordan River miracles but miracles nonetheless. For me, these events are part of God’s orchestration of events and people and timing. These are not random events. These are God’s little miracles that are huge in my life.

 

The first miracle is what I call the California miracle. In the beginning of the Great Recession that began in 2007 and lasted to 2010, the company that I was working for at the time in Charlotte, NC was bought out by a European communications investment company. Since they managed their investments from a corporate office in London and all of our company’s communications holdings were in Europe, it just made no sense for this company to keep a corporate office in Charlotte. They closed us down. They gave us all varying degrees of severance packages. So, there I was, at the beginning of our economy’s deep slide into the biggest economic downturn since the 1930s, without a job. By God’s providence, I had a nice severance package and then I was only without a job for 26 days. I was able to land a consulting gig in Duncan, SC working as a JSOX contractor. JSOX was the Japanese government reaction to the financial scandals that the nation had suffered through just a few years prior. It was similar to the financial revelations here in the US that led our country to pass the Sarbanes-Oxley bill into law. It was known affectionately (not so much) as the SOX law. Both SOX and JSOX require companies to prove that they have internal controls to prevent financial reporting fraud and prove that they have tested them and that they are working.

 

Because of this Japanese law being implemented at the Japanese-owned companies around the world, I was hired to help America Fujikura, Ltd. (AFL) and its legal subsidiaries here in the US to implement its JSOX program. It involved identifying every business process of the company and documenting process walkthroughs so that we could identify all the company’s internal controls. It involved seven months of consulting work here in Duncan, SC. It was during that time that I was assigned to work on the internal controls of one of AFL’s legal subsidiaries, Fujikura America, Inc. (FAI) This company’s financial reporting controls were in shambles. AFL could not trust the financial information coming out of FAI. Long story short. I was sent out to California to fix the problems. That I moved out to California was a miracle to begin with. Nonbelievers would call this pure economic hardship. I would call it a miracle. I had never lived outside of South Carolina – ever. Sure, I had traveled the world in my various jobs but never had I lived anywhere other than South Carolina.

 

If I had not moved out to California, I would have had to find other employment. Something told me to make the move. It was God’s guiding hand. I moved out to California in May 2008. It was that move that caused my then-girlfriend (who is now my wife) and I to have a bi-coastal relationship – seeing each other about every three to four weeks. Eventually the strain of a bi-coastal relationship caused her to seek a transfer to her company’s California location so that she could move out there to be with me. Her job was in Stockton. Mine was in Santa Clara. We decided to (think God’s miracles) locate in a town halfway in between our two jobs – Livermore, CA.

 

Then one night there was this couple Steven and Sophia from this little start up church in town that was having a concert from a local Christian band to celebrate the church’s new home – the gymnasium of a former elementary school turned community center. Steven and Sophia were at our apartment complex putting out door hangers advertising the event as much as they could throughout our complex. However, toward the end of this project they had realized they had not gotten enough door hangers to hang a hanger on every door. They had miscalculated by one building. All other buildings had been saturated. A door hanger for every door in each three story building. However, they only had one hanger left for one door for our entire building. Steven had the one door hanger they had left. He could have done the easy thing. Put the door hanger on the first door he came to on the first floor. But being the quirky dude Steven is, he decided not to do the easy thing. He went up three flights of stairs and placed the door hanger on our apartment on the third floor of the building. We had just moved there a few weeks before. The Holy Spirit moved me to talk Elena not so much going to the concert but going to church at this little church the day after the concert on Sunday.

 

The rest is history. We fell in love with the church. We became best friends with the pastor and his wife. Elena accepted Christ as her Savior two months later. I started maturing from the spiritual baby that I had been for 8 years. We starting growing deeper and deeper in our relationship with Christ. Although we ended up moving back to South Carolina a year later because of my job, the time in Livermore seemed so much more than a random move for a short period of time. It was a watershed moment in both of my wife’s life and my own. Had we not been involved in Livermore Alive Community Church, we would not have been hungry for a similar kind of church back here in South Carolina when we came back. Without Livermore Alive we would not have been searching for LifeSong Church – the church we came to know and are still apart of today right here in Lyman, SC.

 

Since we have been at LifeSong, we have grown in ways that we could have never grown in Livermore. It is a bigger church and it has forced us to grow up in our faith and not depend on being patted on the back or hand picked by the pastor. We have learned so much here. It is because of the idea that we are responsible for our own relationship with Jesus Christ and not to be coddled at the breast of our pastor that we have grown into leaders in the church and I have grown to hear the call to ministry. We both would not have been here for these things to happen in our walks with Jesus Christ if it were not for Livermore Alive. If it were not for the decision of Steve to run up three flights of stairs. Were it not for one last door hanger hung on one door in the last apartment building. Were it not for what seemed like a random event but rather a miracle of God. That miracle would not have happened if it were not for losing my job in Charlotte, accepting a consulting job that brought me to Duncan, SC. Without that miracle in the middle of a recession, there would not have been what seemed a random event of me focusing my work while in Duncan on the company’s California subsidiary. I call that a miracle. Without that miracle. I would not have moved to California. Without moving to California, my girlfriend (now my wife) would not have asked for a transfer to her company’s location in California. Without that miracle, we would not have located in Livermore. Without locating in Livermore, we would not having been living in Mill Springs Commons apartments. Without living at Mills Springs Common, we would not have been the only recipient in our building of a door hanger. Without receiving that door hanger on our door, we would not have come to Livermore Alive Community Church. Without coming to Livermore Alive Community Church, we would not have been disciple by Pastor Luke Brower and his wife, Felicia. Without Livermore Alive, we would not have been ready for our church now, LifeSong Church. Without LifeSong Church, we would not be anywhere near as grown up in our faith as we are now. These are the unseen miracles of God. This is the California miracle.

 

Add to that, everyone one of the people that turned out to be the key members of Livermore Alive Community Church are now gone and the church has since folded. However, there was that one great year that meant so much to all of us that were there. It was that bright shining moment that we were brought together by God so that He could do great things in our lives and the lives of others. Robert & Carol Baer, Dan & Leslie Hoffmeister, Steve & Sophia Adams, Luke & Felisha Brower (pastor and his wife), Mark & Elena Bowling, all were some of the key members of that church. All moved away within 2 years of the first couple moving. The Baers moved to Oregon. The Hoffmeisters moved to Pennsylvania. The Adams to Tracy, CA (and then to Littleton, CO). The Browers moved to Greeley, CO. The Bowling moved to Duncan, SC. All moved. The church didn’t necessarily fold because we all left but it did not help. We were all brought together for an intense year together that readied us to be dispersed around the country. You might call that one year a random bringing together of people simply by chance or by reason of jobs and or whatever. I call it a miracle. That year was so crucial in all our lives. When the first of us started moving away. It was not the same anymore. But when we were all together it was amazing. It was a miracle of God’s plan. Without that one intense year, we would not have been ready for LifeSong. I know this. That’s the amazing miracle of it all. All because of a door hanger.

 

The idea of God’s timeliness of His miracles is what struck me this morning as I read through this 3rd chapter of Joshua for one last time before we move on to the next passage. Let us read it together once more this morning:

 

3 Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over. 2 After three days the officers went throughout the camp, 3 giving orders to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. 4 Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about two thousand cubits[a] between you and the ark; do not go near it.”

 

5 Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”

 

6 Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people.” So they took it up and went ahead of them.

 

7 And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. 8 Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.’”

 

9 Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God. 10 This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. 11 See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. 12 Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 13 And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.”

 

14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.

 

In this passage, we see that the Israelites crossed the Jordan River, according to biblical scholars, in the spring when it was overflowing its banks. God chose the time when the river was at its highest depth and its most dangerous current to demonstrate His power – parting the waters so that the entire nation could cross on dry ground. Those who do not believe in God or question His existence often say that there was just some natural occurrence that happened to allow them to cross on dry land such as a landslide. Believers feel that this was a direct act by God. In either case, God showed His great power by working a miracle of timing and location to allow the people to cross over the Jordan on dry ground. This testimony of God’s supernatural power served to build the Israelites’ hope in God and to give them a great reputation among their enemies, who happened to outnumber them greatly.

 

We may can give physical explanations of God’s miracles that discounts them or does away with them. But you have to do some explaining to do so. You have to discount so many things that come together at certain times. If you don’t want to see God’s miracles you can explain them away all you want to. However, for the believer, we see God’s miracles all around us. We see the succession of miracles in our lives, one right after another.

 

When I take time to reflect on how God has orchestrated the last decade of my life, I am in freaking awe! You may think that my trek from 28 years living in Greenville, SC from age 14 to age 42 to the Charlotte, NC area to the San Francisco Bay Area, CA as all unconnected, random employment decisions but each one is a miracle of God. If I had not moved to Rock Hill, SC to a specific apartment complex there, I would not have met Elena. If I had not lost my job in CharlotteIf I had not moved to California, she would not have moved. If she had not moved out there, we would not have settled on Livermore, CA as the place that we were going to live. If we had not chose Livermore, CA, we would not have received the door hanger. If it were not for the door hanger, we would not have reached Livermore Alive Community Church. If it were not for Livermore Alive Community Church, we would not have been ready for LifeSong. If it were not for my company relocating us back to South Carolina, we would not be at LifeSong. It’s all connected.

 

It’s all God’s miracles. The miracle of a door hanger and what led up to it and what came after. Miracles. God showing His power.

 

Amen and Amen.

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