Joshua 1: 1-2
After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant: ‘Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the River Jordan into the land I am about to give to them – to the Israelites.
First of all, Happy New Year!! I hope you've had a good break over Christmas and are entering 2017 full of faith and expectation for all God is going to do in and through you.
This week I want to share some thoughts to help you enter this new season.
As many of you will know, Moses is one of the greatest men in the entire Bible. He spent the first 40 years as a prince in Egypt, the next 40 in the wilderness as a shepherd. Then one day God spoke to him from a burning bush and told him to go back to Egypt, deliver the Israelites from slavery and oppression and lead them out into the Promised Land.
He obeys and for the next 40 years Moses leads them as they wander through the wilderness. He is their great deliverer, their amazing miracle worker and their bold leader. He stretches out His staff and the Red Sea parts. He meets with God on their behalf. He brings down the 10 commandments from the mountain. Moses is the only real leader they’ve ever known.
However the unthinkable has happened – Moses has died.
If you turn back one chapter to Deuteronomy 34:7-8 it says this:
“Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone. The Israelites grieved for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days, until the time of weeping and mourning was over.”
So Moses has died, they’ve had his funeral followed by 30 days of mourning.
Then we come to Joshua 1: 1 and God shows up to Joshua and says: 'Joshua, Moses is dead.'
Why is God telling Joshua something that he clearly already knows? Why is God stating the obvious?
There’s a number of reasons. The first one is he wants Joshua to face up to reality.
FACE REALITY: WHERE ARE YOU?
After 40 years of spending every single day with Moses, his death must have been a huge shock. It would have wrecked them, devastated them. I would imagine there would probably have been a sense of denial. Of burying their heads in the sand and hoping it wasn’t real.
So God says to them: 'Moses is dead. Face up to it. He’s not coming back. This is your new reality. This is where you are today.'
I think God wants us to do the same at the beginning of 2017. He wants us to ask ourselves: 'Where am I today?' That we would honestly face up to where we stand in our relationship with Him and in other areas of our lives.
If I was driving to your house today and got lost on the way, I would call you on my mobile and say: "I’m completely lost." What’s the first thing you ask: "Where are you now?" Unless you know where I am right now, you can’t tell me where I need to go next.
Until each of us knows where we are today we won’t be able to think about where God might want to take us in this next season.
So, today, on Jan 2nd 2017:
Where do you stand in your relationships?
How is your marriage?
What are your finances like?
How’s your daily time with God in prayer and reading His Word?
How is your health?
We get really good at avoiding things we don’t want to face up to. We drift along and never face up to those places in our lives that really need some work. We deceive ourselves that things are better than they really are.
At the start of this new year might God be saying to you: "Moses is dead." In other words, I want you to honestly and ruthlessly face up to where you are right now, not to depress you, but so you know where you are starting from in this journey forward from this point onwards.
Stop dreaming that life is the way you wish it was. Face up to how it really is. From that place of honesty and vulnerability, God can move in our lives and take us forward into the future He has for us.