Uncharted Waters

Bible Book: Joshua  3 : 1-10
Subject: Victory; Courage; Leadership
Series: Beginnings
[Editor's Note: This is the first sermon in a series by Johnny Hunt. Others are being added as we receive them.]
Introduction

During World War II there was a battalion of courageous and hard-working men called Seabees. Their job was to follow combat units into newly conquered territories to build barracks, bridges, roads, and landing strips. Their slogan was, “The difficult we will do immediately; the impossible may take us a while longer!” These men, not unlike Israel, faced what appeared to be an insurmountable difficulty.

Through this wonderful Old Testament book of Joshua, we come to that momentous event in the history of the children of Israel when they crossed from the wilderness into the land of Canaan, by way of the Jordan River. The crossing of Jordan does not illustrate the passing of a soul into eternity, but rather it illustrates the passing of a Christian from one level of Christian life to another. It marks the end of a life lived on the principle of effort and the beginning of a life lived on the principle of faith and obedience. Between these two rolls the mighty river Jordan, a river of impossibility.

Chapter 2 closes with the personal victory of one Rahab. Now Chapter 3 commences with corporate victory of a nation. This story does not then just deal with the history of a nation; it is about your life and the life of our church today. It’s about what God wants to do here and now for those who trust Him. The book of Joshua is about the victory of faith and the glory that comes to God when His people trust and obey.

British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli said, “The world was never conquered by intrigue; it was conquered by faith.”

God didn’t save us to make statues out of us and put us on exhibition. He saved us to make soldiers out of us and move us forward by faith to claim our rich inheritance in Jesus Christ. Deuteronomy 6:23 Moses said it well, “He brought us out, that He might bring us in.” Too many of God’s people have the mistaken idea that salvation, being delivered from the bondage of Egypt, is all that’s involved in the Christian life; but salvation is only the beginning. Both in our personal spiritual growth and in our service for the Lord, “there remains very much land yet to be possessed.” (Joshua 13:1). We should heed the imperative message of Hebrews 6:1, “Let us go on.” I want to challenge this church in order to change our world.

Ron Dun told me, “Don’t start down the road until you see Jesus on it.” He showed me three truths in this text. One: Direction for Uncharted Paths; secondly, Deliverance from Unconquerable Problems; and lastly, Bringing Us Into Unclaimed Possessions.

Note what God has been showing me:

I. IT COMMENCES WITH THE PURSUIT  3

A. Comfort

“shall remove from the place” – don’t forget, these people Joshua is leading had been wandering 40 years. It was Joshua and Caleb alone that had desired Canaan 40 years prior. The promise was given to Abraham 400 years earlier.

11 days journey

Things not too bad in the wilderness. God’s presence and provision

B. Challenge 3

“go after it.” – (ark); God’s presence; follow the ark.

God goes before us and opens up the way. When God moves, we are to move; follow.

It led to deep/wide water V15.

Exodus 33:14: “And He said, "’My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’"

NOTE: No swimming; no boats or rafts at the Jordan (2 miles wide during the harvest season).

Self Helps

Self-Effort

Faith Adventure

II. IT CONTINUED WITH PREPARATION  4-5

A. Unknown Presence 4a

The distance of 3000 ft. reminded them of the sacredness of the ark and the holiness of the God it represented. There was to be no casual or careless intimacy, but a profound spirit of respect and reverence. God is not “the man upstairs,” but the sovereign and holy Lord of all the earth.

The distance was also essential so that the largest possible numbers in this great population could observe the ark.

ILLUSTRATION: Woman At The Well

John 4:39: “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, "’He told me all that I ever did.’"

John 4:41-42: “And many more believed because of His own word.

Then they said to the woman, "’Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.’"

Like the woman at the well, I was seeking

For things that could not satisfy.

And then I heard my Savior speaking-

“Draw from My well that never shall run dry.”

Fill my cup, Lord;

I lift it up Lord;

Come and quench this thirsting of my soul.

Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more.

Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole.

There are millions in this world who are seeking

For pleasures earthly goods afford.

But none can match the wondrous treasure

That I find in Jesus Christ my Lord.

So my brother if the things that this world gives you

Leave hungers that won’t pass away,

My blessed Lord will come and save you

If you kneel to Him and humbly pray-

B. Unfamiliar Paths 4b

“You have not passed this way before” – unfamiliar ground, new territory, new level, new depth, new challenge, new anointing.

2 Corinthians 3:18: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

C. Unclean People 5a

“sanctify yourself” – spiritual preparation; for spiritual victory we must be willing to separate ourselves from defiling sin, so that we can be set apart to God’s will and purpose for our lives.

Colossians 3:8 – “Put Off”

Colossians 3:10, 12 – “Put On”

Literally meant to wash and change clothes; symbolized making a new beginning with the Lord.

Exodus 19:10: “Then the Lord said to Moses, "Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes.”

The Israelites had to prepare for a manifestation of the God of all the earth.

D. Unexpected Power 5b

“tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you”

V5 gives us an order with a promise. The fulfillment of the promise depended on their obedience to the order.

Love and obedience bring joy and peace.

1. SANCTIFICATION 5a
2. EXPECTATION 5b

Expector Expired

The people of Israel were to expect God to work a miracle. They were eager, gripped by a sense of wonder.

It has been said that “it is because we lose sight of a God Who can do the incredible and the impossible that we meet frustration and futility.”

III. IT CLIMAXES WITH POSSESSING  6-10

3 LEVELS:

One - leave the wilderness
Two - enter Canaan (cross Jordan)
Three - face the 7 tribes (enemy)
A. Establishing The Leader 6-8

This concerns possession and position (v6).

The ark was at the Head; lordship.

V7 teaches that God chose this time in Joshua’s life to establish his credentials as God’s representative to guide Israel.

V8- priests had to get their feet wet first before God would open the waters. It took faith and courage.

B. Exalting The Lord 9-10

True spiritual leadership focuses the eyes of the people on the Lord and His greatness.

V10 “living God” – not a wooden statue; He is the living Lord Jesus.

These promises are not just to be underlined with yellow or blue markers, they are to be appropriated by faith and obedience.