IN THIS CHAPTER, BEFORE JOSHUA’S PASSING, HE CALLS FOR ALL THE ELDERS, JUDGES, & LEADERS. HE BEGINS TO REMIND THEM OF THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD. HE REMINDS THEM OF EGYPT, PAST BATTLES THAT GOD GAVE THEM VICTORY OVER. THE MANNA THAT WAS GIVEN EVERYDAY IN THE WILDERNESS.
14 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” — Joshua 24:14-15
We have choices everyday. What to wear, what to eat that day. But everyday we make a conscience decision to choose Him in everything.
“But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
ii. Joshua could make this statement because he had lived a life that continuously chose to serve the LORD.
· Joshua chose to fight against the Amalekites – choosing when it might cost everything.
· Joshua chose to reject the golden calf – choosing when the flesh might be satisfied.
· Joshua chose to serve the Lord by serving Moses – choosing a humble place.
· Joshua chose to believe God’s promise about the Promised Land – choosing against the majority.
· Joshua chose to recognize the leadership of the Captain of the LORD’s army – choosing surrender to God.
· Joshua chose to take leadership of Israel and lead them into the land – choosing faith instead of unbelief.
iii. God gives us choice. God is a choosing God; we are made in His image. He wants us to also choose.
So who will you choose?
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. — Matthew 6:24
A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. 5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
In everything we do there is always preparation. Preparation to start a new job, preparation to getting married, preparation to having kids. You get the picture. And there is also another kind of preparation that God is calling us to do. This kind of prep is ongoing, it’s not only for a season of our lives but everyday.
There are obstacles that we can put before God, and those obstacles can be a hinderance to our relationship. What we might think is good for us on the other hand isn’t pleasant in the eyes of God. God can do anything, right? His power is limitless, we all know that. But it’s up to us, as obedient children of God to surrender those obstacles to Him. I like the prayer that David prayed in Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me”
I don’t need to give examples of the obstacles that can get in the way, we all know those obstacles that we need to make flat. It’s all in the prep work to make every “mountain and hill low; the uneven ground shall become level…”
Right now, where you’re at ask the Lord to reveal those obstacles in your life, ask Him to make a way in the wilderness. Ask for help in preparing your heart for His soon return.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
— 1 Peter 1:3-7
Before I can even start telling you about the Living Hope in Jesus, we first must realize that it was mercy that sent us Hope.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) …”Ephesians 2:4-5.
WHAT DOES THIS LIVING HOPE MEAN FOR THE BELIEVER?
FOR THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN BORN AGAIN WE HAVE A LIVING HOPE THAT IS LIVING INSIDE OF US!
DESPITE WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND US
INTO WHATEVER STORM WE MAY ENCOUNTER
INTO WHATEVER BATTLE WE MAY FACE
WE HAVE THIS GREAT HOPE IN THE MIDST OF THE WAR
OUR ONLY HOPE BELONGS IN NO OTHER PERSON BUT IN HIM
Remember our hope is not in a pastor, it’s not in America, it’s not in ourselves or anything this world has to offer.
How can we remain steadfast in a storm when the waves come up against me?
HEBREWS 6:19 “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,…”
HE IS OUR ANCHOR
“On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.”
a. Let us cross over to the other side: Jesus made a promise to His disciples. He didn’t say, “Let us perish in the middle of the Sea of Galilee.”
He promised His disciples that they would cross over to the other side.
We are not promised a fair life
We are not promised to a life without struggles
We are not promised to not go through the fire
We are not promised tomorrow!
Many times we don’t understand the “why’s” of life. It’s in those moments that when the seas become choppy and everything is against us that we truly know how strong the anchor holds.
BUT WHAT HE DID PROMISE IS THAT HE’LL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU!
DEUT. 31:6 “BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS. DO NOT BE AFRAID OR TERRIFIED BECAUSE OF THEM, FOR THE LORD YOUR GOD GOES WITH YOU; HE WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU OR FORSAKE YOU.”
Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.“
Many believe the lies that they will never see light at the end of the tunnel, it’s always going to be this way, it’s over my head. We may have these thoughts but what He promised the disciples and to us…He will meet us on the other side.
HE DIDN’T SAY I’LL MEET YOU HALF WAY AND YOU FIGURE IT OUT.
WHAT DOES THIS Living Hope mean for the Believer?
GOD IS FOR US — Romans 8:31 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
When we are faced with the impossible, we forget what is possible with Him. We may ask, “Where is God in all of this?”
Mark 4:38 “And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”
IN THAT MOMENT OF ASKING QUESTIONS…WE WANT ANSWERS…WE DON’t WANT TO WAIT ANY LONGER…I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE…
Even though words can’t express the chaos and confusion and questions we may have. We serve a God who knows and feels our infirmities
But let me assure you that God doesn’t always have to speak to you to know that He is with you.
In the midst of the storm there is a presence. WE MUST Believe in the power of the presence of God KNOWING THAT HE IS FOR US.
The DISCIPLES DIDN’T TAKE JESUS AT HIS WORDS
A. ARE WE TAKING HIM AT HIS WORD?
ISAIAH 55:11 “ SO SHALL MY WORD THAT GOES OUT OF MY MOUTH; IT SHALL NOT RETURN TO ME EMPTY, BUT IT SHALL ACCOMPLISH THAT WHICH I PURPOSE, AND SHALL SUCCEED IN THE THING FOR WHICH I SENT.
IF HE SAID IT HE WILL DO IT!
How many times has God said a word to you and in order to fulfill a purpose. And all the sudden the storm comes in your life and when you get through that storm you look back and think if I had not went through that storm I would not have made it to where I am right now.
If HE LED YOU TO IT, HE WILL LEAD YOU THROUGH IT.
He won’t leave you hanging!
Mark 4:39-40 “And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. “But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!””
— It is possible to have peace in a crisis.
— It is possible to have joy in a crisis
He WANTS US TO HAVE AN UNMOVABLE — UNSHAKABLE— UN WAVERING FAITH.
WHAT DOES THIS Living Hope mean for the Believer?
We have this hope as an anchor
We have this hope knowing that He is for us
WE KNOW WE HAVE A FUTURE HOPE –
1 Peter 1:3-4
“He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
WE MAY NOT KNOW THE PLANS or what’s next, “I don’t need to know ‘why,’ as long as I know the One who knows “why.’”
YOU’VE GOT TO LEAN NOT ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING BUT LEAN ON THE ANCHOR FOR NOTHING WILL MOVE HIM
Hope itself is like a star — not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity and only to be discovered in the night of adversity. — Charles Spurgeon
— To realize the worth of the anchor, we need to feel the storm.
When we feel the stress of the storm, we learn the strength of the anchor.