Sermon Summary. In 2014, as we watch the news and walk in our communities, we see a lot of despair and hopelessness. In some places and in some people, there is almost no hope that things can change and get better. In Joshua Chapter 3, as this community prepares to move and claim new territory, God reminds the people to expect amazing things. A whole generation – through highs and lows – has anticipated this moment. God, through their leader, reminds them that when they awake the Lord will “do amazing things among you.” This needs to be our prayer. We need to be reminded that God has said he will do exceedingly and abundantly above all we can think or imagine. Even in the face of adversity, trial and pain, we must never forget the capacity of our God to bring us through circumstances, to change our circumstances and to bring us into and through new and uncertain territory. We also have to share this truth with the world that sees little hope. Let us continue to expect amazing things from our God.
Lead in Order, Through the People. (3:1-3) One of the things we see in this text is that the community of faith has an order to it and that everybody plays a role. The leader, the officers (aka ministry leaders), and the people are all engaged in claiming the new territory of the ministry.
- Remember how the Book of Joshua begins, with Joshua, God’s leader, alone getting instruction and encouragement from God. Why is it important for the leader of the community of faith to hear from the Lord?
- Look at Joshua 1:10-11, 2:1 and 3:1-2. Does Joshua lead by himself? Why is it important for the leader to have strong relationship with ministry leaders and lead through others?
- Do we see in verse 1-3 how the whole community of faith is involved in this activity? How important is this? How does this work in the local church? How did Jesus lead through others?
God is always present. (3:2-3) The presence of God is critical; we see that in this narrative. The Ark of the Covenant represents the presence of the Lord among the people. It contained the stone tablets of the law and was kept in the holy of holies (See Exodus 25:22). In this narrative it also represents God’s direction. We need both.
- How important do we see that the presence of God is to the community of faith?
- Where does the presence of God, the Ark, come in the sequence of the order and directions given? How do we invite and respect the presence of God in our daily lives? Do we reach to God first?
They are to stay 2,000 cubits (about 1,000 yards) from the Ark. There is both a familiarity in prayer and presence and a distance and reverence that we have with God at the same time. We should never become so familiar that we diminish (in our eyes) who God is.
God provides direction. (3:3-4) The Ark represents the presence of God but also the direction of God. As the people prepare to go into new territory they are to follow their God who goes before them.
- What does the text say about the territory the community of faith is about to explore? Do they know the way?
- What are they to follow to give them direction? What are the ways that we can/should follow God as we go into new territory and unknown places?
Expect Amazing. The last and perhaps most important point in this lesson is the direction – from God . . . through Joshua – to expect amazing. New territory brings uncertainty, fear, doubt, old baggage, etc. Satan wants us to be caught up on all of these things. God uses Joshua gets the people grounded and centered. He reminds them who God is, what God does and what God promises. He has promised to do “exceedingly abundantly above all we can think or imagine. Joshua tells us “tomorrow, the Lord will do amazing things among you.” Let us embrace this promise.
- Reflect on new territory/challenges/opportunities that you see arising in your life.
- Begin to be in prayer for yourself and for those situations that God would move in amazing ways and that you would anticipate and expect amazing in your life.
Remember that he will do above what we can think or imagine. It will not always be in the form we expect. But, expect God to amazing and surprising things in our lives.