“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 Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them – to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates – all the Hittite country – to the Great Sea on the west. No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
The people of Israel were at a crucial crossroads in their journey towards the promised land. Moses, their leader for forty years had just left this physical life. He was a mighty man of God who had been called and divinely empowered to do an impossible job and lead over a million people out of bondage in Egypt and into their own land.
Now here they were at the brink of a new life, and they had lost the one who's close communion with God had been their channel for divine protection and provision during the forty year period in the desert. God had prepared and raised up Joshua as the new leader of the people. Joshua had been by Moses' side for many years. He had learned much from Moses, especially how to seek the Lord and linger in His presence. (Exodus 33:11). Moses had also imparted his anointing upon Joshua (Deuteronomy 34:9). However, it was a time of crisis and uncertainty for the community; change is always difficult. The people wept and mourned the death of Moses. I believe Joshua himself wept for his departed mentor and wondered how he could face the future without his guidance and leading. He was well aware of all the daily difficulties Moses had faced as he brought over a million often disgruntled people through the desert. He probably felt he was not up to the huge task ahead of him, until God spoke to him with guidance for the next step.
From these words that God spoke to Joshua we can take some important keys for our own journey into this new year of 2010 and the fulfilment of all the precious promises God has prepared for us.
The people of Israel had waited many long years to enjoy the good land which God had told their fathers was theirs. It was the "Promised Land" and for many years, this is all it was - a promise. Promises often carry conditions that have to be fulfilled. God may have given you a promise which you have waited a long time for. You may have even given up on your promise, but be assured that the Lord has not! As you enter this year, know that during this year you will see the completion of many things that have seemed to be hanging in the balance. Ten is God's number of completion. Many prophets have declared the year 2010 as the year of "Nothing Wanting" and "The Cycle Completed".
God made many promises to Joshua for the people:
a) A huge extent of land, which included fertile river terrain, hills, desert and the coastal belt. For us this represents authority and ownership over geographical and spiritual territory, material and bodily prosperity, security, and a sense of belonging.
b) A call to leadership, anointed and undisputed and a conqueror's anointing. Each of us are cleansed in the blood of our Savior Jesus, and part of a royal priesthood and a holy generation (1 Peter 2:9), anointed by the blessed Holy Spirit and set apart for the work of God. We were chosen and appointed to go and bear lasting fruit (John 15:16).
c) An assurance of the permanent presence of God. "Never will I leave you nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5) "Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).
These same promises are for you and me today. They represent God's generous abundance and His desire to bless and prosper His children. However there were some conditions which Joshua had to help his people fulfil:
1) "Moses My servant is dead". The past is over. Stop looking behind you. Look ahead. There is nothing we can do to change the past. There may be unpleasant experiences or consequences of weak decisions which we have to accept and overcome. We have to move on. Give God your 'now' and your tomorrow, and look ahead with expectation. He has good plans for you - plans to prosper you.
2) Get ready - prepare yourself. God had given the land to the people forty years before they stepped into it, but they were not ready. They had to stop their grumbling and negativity to receive the blessing. They had to change their bad attitude! Believe for the fulfilment of your promise. Be thankful for God's goodness. Speak positive, faith stirring words over your life; call forth your blessing - it has been given to you.
3) Move in. Cross over. The people had to step forward and set foot on the land to take possession of it. There were other people groups living in this land which was to be theirs, and no one gave them a deed of title, but they had to go forward in faith. They had to leave the place they were in and cross over the river onto the other side. God is calling us to cross over - mentally and spiritually into the place He has promised us. This means we have to change the way we think and believe. We have to start seeing that ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD! And all things are possible for those who BELIEVE! As we allow our hearts to go in the direction God leads us, we will see the physical manifestation of all His blessings flooding and overflowing our lives.
4) Take possession of what God has given you. As much as you reach out for is yours. God gave the people everything He had promised Moses, but they had to step in and take possession of the land with both hands. As you believe the Word of the Lord and step forward in faith, thank Him and know that what He has promised is already yours.
The people of Israel had to cross the Jordan River to get into the promised land. 'Jordan' is derived from the Hebrew word yar-dane meaning 'descender', because it flows downwards. It was also seen as a source of fruitfulness and fertility. As we move forward into this year, God would have us go through the river which flows downwards from His Holy throne - the river of the Holy Spirit. As we immerse ourselves in these living waters, we can expect fruitfulness and fertility as we step in and take possession of everything God has prepared for us in this year. Let us believe that everything barren, dry and dead will come to life. Every stronghold will be broken, and every breakthrough we have been waiting for will come to pass in this year, in Jesus' name and in the power of His Spirit. Today we can decide to cross over - from sickness to health, from debt to abundance, from depression to joy, from strife to peace. God has already given us the land!
I pray in Jesus' name that the blessed Holy Spirit will empower you today to stop looking backwards, and to look ahead towards all the good plans God has for you. I pray He will enable you to prepare yourself to receive. I pray He will help you to believe that God's promises are true, and to cross over, step forward, and take them in faith. God has blessed your tomorrow! Amen!