Faithing Your Future

Title: Faithing Your Future

Bible Book: Joshua 5 : 13-15

Author: J. Mike Minnix

Subject: Graduation; Baccalaureate



It was graduation day and mom was trying to get a photo of her son and his father, so she told them that in order to make it look natural the son should put his arm around his dad. The father replied, "If you really want it to look natural, you should take the picture with his hand in my back pocket reaching for my billfold!"

You graduates remind your dads and moms of the quote by Benjamin Franklin, "If a man empties his purse into his head, be assured that no one can take it from him." Your parents have emptied a lot of money from their purse into your heads! Be sure that you use the knowledge you have gained wisely.

I’m sure your parents have been glad and proud to pay the cost in time, energy, money and concern to see you come to this day. It is a true joy to commend all of our graduates on the occasion of completing the required courses to receive the degrees and/or diplomas which you have earned. It is good to see a group sitting here today that is an above C-level.. What do I mean? Well, I heard about a boy who said he had not gotten an underwater grade on his last test. His friend asked what he meant by that. The frowning student replied, "My grade was below C-level!" It is good to see an above C-level group here today. Congratulations to you all.

A father asked his son how he did on a test in school that day. The boy replied that he did what Abraham Lincoln did. The father said, "I don't know what you mean, what did Abraham Lincoln do?" The boy replied, "Dad, he went down in history, and so did I - I went way down in history on the test!"

Well, you are going down in history too, but not in the same way. You are going down in history as having completed some very difficult scholastic work in order to receive your respective recognitions.

I want to speak to you today from the life of Joshua. He faced his on graduation and his own commencement. How he handled it gives each of us some great guidelines for today.

Joshua was experiencing a graduation and a commencement in his life. He graduated from the 'University of Wilderness Wanderings'. I promise you, no matter how difficult your educational experience has been, it could not possibly have been as difficult as that of Joshua. He was thrilled, overjoyed and ecstatic to be graduating from this college of catastrophes. After all, he spent 40 years in the wilderness learning lessons he would need to apply in order to go forth victoriously in life. But he was also experiencing a commencement. He was commencing or beginning a new work. Though his graduation was a joy, his commencement had to bring him some concern.

Actually, graduation is a term we like better than commencement. We like to complete things, but taking on new, unknown and difficult tasks can be frightening. Now, I will admit that there are some people who get very excited about new things. Such people frighten me a little. New, unknown tasks are always fraught with dangers and trials which cannot be seen when one is merely standing at the door of opportunity. The new job is exciting - for about two days. Then the awareness sets in that there are expectations and tasks which are not going to be much fun. The new scholastic adventure is exhilarating, until you find that your teacher or professor is surely Hitler’s brother, or at least a relative of Genghis Khan. Then the moaning starts.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not fond of pessimists. I would rather be around an optimist any time. The problem is that life is not a matter of pessimism or optimism - it is a matter of realism. So for all of us who realize that life’s path is spotted with potholes and problems, I want to give you a message on how to commence toward a new task with joy, peace and confidence. In short, I want to reveal from God’s Word how to Faith Your Future. No, I did not say it incorrectly. I did not intend to say Face Your Future. A church once put the following message on the church sign out in front of the building, Come In And Get Your Faith Lifted. Indeed, a faith lift is far more valuable than a face lift.

The message today is about coming to the hour of commencement in a position of true enthusiasm, hopefulness and excitement. Some here today may have these emotions but have them falsely, but I want you to have them and have them correctly.

So, lets look at a man who stepped from graduation to commencement without ever losing his bright, confident, happy outlook. For here we see Joshua, Faithing His Future

I. He Looked Up

Joshua walked out of the camp, perhaps in the early morning dawn, toward Jericho. Jericho was about five miles from the encampment of the Hebrew people. All alone, Joshua walked along thinking about what was before him. Perhaps he wondered just for a moment if his early joy about graduating from the wilderness was well founded. He looked out across the landscape and saw the imposing walls of Jericho. How in the world was he going to take that city? Was he really up to this task.

As Joshua walked along, his head down contemplating the possibilities for disaster that lay before him, he suddenly felt the need to look up. He lifted his head and, lo and behold, there stood before him a man with a drawn sword in his hand. Believe me, that would get your attention.

Joshua spoke to the man. Now, I think I might have spoken to him as well. The words, 'Good-bye' seem really appropriate at a moment like that. But Joshua asked the man a question. He asked if the man was for the Hebrew people or for their enemies. The answer the man gave him was very strange indeed. The man with the sword said, "No."

He was neither for the Hebrew people or against them. He then revealed who He was. He stated that He was the "Commander" of the Lord’s army. Ladies and gentlemen, the Man with the sword was the Lord Himself. Joshua had looked up and now He was looking into the eyes of the Master.

Let me say to you today, that the best advice I can give you as you commence on a new journey in life is to look up. Look up and look to the Master. Why?

A. Because of the Presence of the Lord

There is something powerful and encouraging about knowing the presence of the Lord. Paul wrote that we should not worry about anything, but should rejoice because the Lord is near (Philippians 4:4-5).

The Lord was with Samuel when he was boy and because of it Samuel helped turn a nation around.

The Lord was with David when he was but a teenager, and because of it a giant who mocked the Lord Almighty was brought down.

The Lord was with Gideon when he was a young man, and because of it, the nation was spared defeat by the hands of pagan enemies.

The Lord was with Esther when she was a young woman, and because of it, the Hebrew people were spared from annihalation.

There is no substitute for the presence of the Lord.

Paul once stood to preach and stated these words about God’s glory and presence, (Acts 17:26-27) "From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. He is not far from you, look up and discover His abiding presence."

B. Because of the Power of the Lord

We should look up because of the power of the Lord. Note how He described Himself to Joshua. He stated that He is the "Commander" of the Army of the Lord. You want a friend in high places? He is higher than all others. Everything is under His authority. You need strength? He has it! You need resources? He owns it all! You need direction? He is the Way! You need counsel? He is the Truth! You need meaning? He is the Life! Look up and discover the Master with the drawn sword.

C. Because of the Purpose of the Lord

Acts 17:26-27

Lets go back for a moment to the answer the Lord gave when Joshua asked if He was for the Hebrews or for their enemies. The answer seemed to make no sense at all. The Lord said, "No!" What did He mean by that answer?

The Lord was telling Joshua that He was neither for or against any people. He is Lord. The Lord is not some divine Santa Claus that jumps at our command. He is in charge. This was a revelation to Joshua.

He is called the Captain (Commander) of the Lord’s host. This is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. Joshua asked if this man was for them or for others. Whose side is God on?

During the Civil War Lincoln was depressed at the death and the destruction taking place. The war was still in question and Lincoln was afraid that the union might be lost and America permanently divided. An aide said to him, "Do not worry Mr. President, the Lord is on our side." Lincoln purportedly replied, "That is not the question, the question is, are we on the Lord’s side."

As you face your graduation and future you may ask if the Lord is on your side. Does He have blessings in your future? The question is simple, "Are you on the Lord’s side?" To tell you the truth, God does not take sides. Look at His answer to Joshua. Joshua asked if He was on the enemies side or our side and the Lord replied, "Neither!" He did not come to take sides, the Lord comes to take over. The first step in being a real success is not to get God to bless your plans but for you to submit to His plans for you.

Look up and find God’s purpose and fulfill that purpose. Believe me, if you will look to Him, He will appear just at the right time and in the manner you need Him. Joshua needed the vision of a soldier, after all, he was about to go into battle. That is just how Jesus appeared to Him. Look up , find God’s purpose, God’s power and God’s presence in your life. It will make your commencement a time of joy, adventure and blessing.

But that is not all Joshua did. Note secondly that:

II. He Bowed Down

Note that Joshua fell down before the Lord. He realized who this was and we see his reverent reaction. I want you to see three parts of Joshua’s anatomy in this incident.

A. Notice His Knees

First, look at his knees. He falls down upon them. This is symbol of prayer. It is a picture of a man who seeks the blessing of God before he goes forth, not afterward. You will never stand taller than you are on your knees before the Lord. Commence into your future life by spending time on your knees before the Lord. Let me ask you a question, how long has it been since you actually got down on your knees before the Lord and prayed? As you get older, and better educated, we become more self sufficient. There is a great danger in this. The danger is one of pride, and pride appears just before a failure. If you want to succeed, make a commitment today to spend time with God in prayer everyday!

B. Notice His Ears

Next, look at his ears. He asks what the Lord would have him do. He is willing to listen to the Lord. You cannot do anything better than open up the ears of your heart and hear the Lord’s direction for your life and your actions. Read the Bible everyday. Spend time in worship listening to God's Word. Keep your ears attuned to divine directives.

C. Notice His Hands

He calls himself the servant of the Lord. He will use his hands for Christ. He will submit his purposes to God’s purpose. Some of you will work in marketing. Some of you in medicine. Some of you in finance. Some of you in engineering. Some of you in education. Some of you perhaps even in vocational ministry. But whatever you hand finds to do, do it with all your heart as unto the Lord. Let your hands be in submission to the Lord. Joshua bowed down to worship, to listen, to submit.

III. He Went Forth

Then he rose to go forth because Joshua had a new boldness. I pray that every Christian graduate here today has a boldness and dedication which causes you to take a determined stand for the Lord as you step forth to new challenges. After all, the world will forgive you for being green, even for sometimes being blue, but never for being yellow!

There is no hesitation in Joshua for he was now filled with purpose. He does not have all the answers at this moment, but he has a close, loving relationship with the One who will direct his steps. Note three things about the way he went forth.

A. He Went Forth in Reverence - a Correct Understanding of Life

He went forth in reverence and this gave him a correct understanding of life. He was told that he was on holy ground. Now pay attention, don’t miss this. If you miss this, you may well miss the entire purpose of this story in the Bible and of my message from it. Joshua would never have thought of the place where he was standing as holy ground. He was a short distance from Jericho. He was in Canaanite territory. He was in what he perceived to be an evil place. God told him it was holy ground.

What is the point? It is this, everywhere the believer goes in holy ground. There is no separation between the secular and the spiritual. I am to be holy in my home and in the pulpit. You are to be the same in your dorm room as in your Sunday School Room. I don’t mean all the activities are the same, I mean the attitude of love for God and submission to His will must be same at all times. This was a revelation to Joshua. Don’t act one way in one place and another way in another place. Don’t tell the filthy joke to your friends at school or work and then talk a spiritual language in church on Sunday. All of the ground is Holy Ground!

B. He Went Forth in Obedience - a Commitment to His Lord

Joshua rose and went forth obedient to the Lord. This involved daily communication with the Lord. He got his marching orders from above. He did not make a plan and then beg God to bless it. He got God’s plan and had the knowledge that it was already blessed!

C. He Went Forth in Dependence - a Confidence in His Leadership

He could now depend upon the Lord to be his strength, his defender, his helper, his guide, his mighty Master with the drawn sword.


So now you are ready for your commencement. How will you face your future?

When motorboats first appeared, there were two country bumpkins standing on hill overlooking a lake. They saw a motorboat pulling a skier and were puzzled. They had never seen anything but canoes and rafts prior to that day. One of the guys turned to the other and asked, "How is that boat going so fast?"

The other guy, trying to act like he actually knew what was going on said, "Can’t you see? The man with rope is pushing it!"

Yes, that is a joke! But let me share with you that if you leave the Lord out of your future, you might as well attempt to push a boat with a rope! You must submit to the one with the power, as the skier submits to the motor which propels the boat. Skiing takes skill, but it requires a power beyond the skis and the rope. My friend, God will use your skill and require great things of you, but He first demands that you look up, you bow down and only then do you move forth in victory.

Joshua had everything going for him; he had faith, patience, and experience. But, all of that would have been useless had he not done what he did that night. He fell before the Lord Jesus and said, "Alright, I'm second in command".

Would you submit to Him today? Perhaps you have never received Him into your life, now is the time. Or maybe He is your Savior, you just need to renew your relationship to Him. That is what Joshua did. He did it with fervor and faith. He was ready to FAITH HIS FUTURE! Are you ready to do the same? If you do, victory is assured.

Hudson Taylor use to say, "There are three ways to serve the Lord. One is to do what you want to do and hope that it works out. The other is to do what you want to do and ask God to bless it. The third is to find out what God wants to do and expect Him to bless it" That is what God is calling you to do today. Find His will and HE WILL BLESS IT EVERY TIME!

Please be assured of this, those who do not have the same faith in God that you possess will mock you. Don’t you know that the people of Jericho must have laughed their heads off when they saw that motley crew of Hebrews marching around their walled city. They surely mounted the wall and mocked and ridiculed the people of God. They will do the same to you. But you must be faithful regardless of their insults. The poet penned:

Mock on, mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau;

Mock on, mock on; 'tis all in vain!

You throw the sand against the wind,

And the wind blows it back again.

William Blake (1757-1827)

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