With all the negative information from the media, it is so important to spend time in God's Word to see what He is saying and look forward to the blessings He wants to give to his people. I believe God is leading us into an amazing time of growth and blessing through these hard times. The situation with the financial system and pandemic is like the Jordan river in flood. It is impossible to cross over ... especially when you have over a million people following you Steve Furtick says NMNM. (No Mess No Miracle) Get in position as God is positioning you for a miracle. God wants to take us to the new place, but on the journey to this place, He is working in our lives so we are stronger, wiser, more mature and closer in our relationship to Him.
This time for the Israelites, was a time where their "normal" was about to change. God was going to change their lives completely. Instead of being fed and looked after by God and wandering around a desert, He was leading them to conquer the Promise Land and enter into the blessings He had promised them. God is taking us to the end of what has been "normal" and is leading us into the promises and blessing that will be the "new normal". They were going into battle and it was going to be tough. This adventure with God, though, was exciting and contained amazing blessings.
In Joshua 3 and 4, we read about the time the Israelites move from the 40 years of wandering in the desert to stepping into the promised land and into the blessings He had for them. I believe the process that God used for them to enter into the blessings is the same one He is using now for HIs people. Let's explore the process and I pray it encourages you to use this time in your life to seek God, prepare yourself to be ready and step boldly into the destiny God has for you as one of His children.
1. God reveals His promises - In Joshua 2:2 we find that two spies are sent to secretly view the land and to get a glimpse of what God has in the future. Seek God into giving you a picture of where He is leading you. If he doesn't, still trust Him.
And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into a harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there.
God gave Joseph a dream and David had his head anointed with oil and was told by God well in advance he would be king. God often gives us a glimpse of what He is doing or the blessings that are ahead.
2. Before entering the blessings, God calls to stop. Before entering the blessing, there is a time where God calls us to stop and prepare for the journey He has for us ahead. We must stop wasting today's strength by fighting tomorrow's battle. This is a time to trust God and prepare through waiting on God, listening to Him and worshipping Him. Tomorrow is God's job. Trust God and embrace the process He has given you.
And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over. Joshua 3:1
3. God calls us to be sanctified - Before we can enter the blessing we are to deal with any sin or anything that will hold us back. This positions us to be able to enjoy the new time or blessing long term and for this blessing not to be damaged or destroyed by our sin. This is the preparation we need to do for the blessing He has for us. This is a time where we do not worry about the future, but use the time to prepare for the adventure and blessing that is to come. Do not worry about the future. Use today to prepare yourself. Cut things off in your life that will stop you entering or experiencing the blessings fully.
5 And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.
4. We need to be led by God - In the new adventure that they were about to undertake, they had not been there before. They had to rely on God leading them and showing them the way forward. They had to fully rely on God for directions. It was interesting that God did not come closer, but He could be seen better in the distance. God is taking us on a new adventure and we have not experienced what he is taking us into. It is so important that we are led by God and trust Him as we move forward. It is too easy to use God as a ride and to ask Him just to do it for us. "God, take me to ....." or "God, give me ......". God is calling us to trust Him as our guide, not our ride. The Israelites were led by God's covenant which was His promise to them. God is leading us not by what we have said or done, but what He has said to us.
3 and they commanded the people, saying, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, the Levites, bearing it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it.4 Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before.” Joshua 3:3-4.
5. Do not be worried when it looks impossible. Step out and trust God even when it looks impossible. The priests had to take the ark of the Lord and walk into the water. The miracle of the Jordan drying up only happened as they stepped out in faith and got their feet wet. Could you imagine being the priests being followed into the water by over a million people? And then they had to wait in the dry river bed until they all crossed. That would have taken great faith and courage!
God is calling us to acknowledge our fear, but as we do, exercise faith that God will see us through the raging waters to the blessing He has for us. Fear causes us to have stronger faith and is OK.
It is interesting that the first time the Israelites stepped through the waters, God parted the Red Sea and then they moved forward. This time, the priests had to enter the water before God acted. They had to trust God and step out in faith BEFORE God stopped the waters and let them cross on dry land.
11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is crossing over before you into the Jordan.12 Now, therefore, take for yourselves twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one man from every tribe.13 And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of theLord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, that the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, the waters that come down from upstream, and they shall stand as a heap.”
6. Allow God to teach you on the way - After they had crossed, Joshua sent 12 men back into the dry riverbed to collect a stone each to build a memorial. This was to remind them what God had done. They would tell of what He had done and taught them in the future. Take time to record what God is doing and keep coming back to this to remind you about how He has led or is leading you from the wilderness into the blessings He has for you. What you learn on the way is often more important than the destination.
4 Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the children of Israel, one man from every tribe;5 and Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you takes up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel,6 that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’7 Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of theLord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.” Joshua 4:4-7.
7. God sets us apart before moving forward into the blessing. God told Joshua to make flint knives and circumcise all of the males before claiming the land. This circumcision was something that set God's people apart from all the others in the land. It reminded them that they were walking in the covenant that God had made with His people and they were not to become like them. This was a final place of healing and when God finally dealt with the last issues of Egypt. A crazy thing to do when you had just entered a foreign land where they were not happy you had entered their country and knew you were there to displace and kill them. Yet they did this and trusted God and He protected them.
8 So it was, when they had finished circumcising all the people, that they stayed in their places in the camp till they were healed.9 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” Therefore the name of the place is called Gilgal to this day.
I pray that God reveals to you that this is a time to seek Him and to allow Him to take you on the process He has for you so you can reach the blessings He has for you on the other side of the impossible situation you have in front of you. Be brave, and even though you are afraid, allow God to use this fear to grow your faith. Use this time to become more intimate in your relationship with Jesus, have a greater revelation of His Word, be free to worship God in a way you have never done before and prepare yourself for the testimony God will give you through this time. (WWW = Worship, Word, Wisdom) No test, not testimony. God is preparing you to do deep things in your life. Do not be anxious. He has everything in hand. The "I Am" is already where He is taking you and is calling your forward.
See you on the other side!!
(This was written after listening to this sermon by Steve Furtick - Hope you have time to watch it!)