Koinonia: November Edition
Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' servant, saying, "Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. "Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. "From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory. "No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. "Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. "Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever * you go. "This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9
Israel spent 40 years in the wilderness. In those 40 years they learned again what it means to rely upon the Lord’s faithfulness each day, giving thanks each day for the fresh manna and quail they were provided. They also had to relearn their identity as His chosen people, a people to whom He made promises and plan for prosperity. After centuries in bondage, they needed these 40 years to shed themselves of old attitudes so that they could fully embrace their walk with the Lord once again.
Fast forward to Joshua’s day of leadership. Moses was now gone and with him a whole generation of doubters. Indeed, God’s people were ready for a rebirth. God had a big plan for His people, but also big obstacles to overcome. The Canaanites were a mighty people, deeply embedded in the land promised to Israel. So the people had to trust that God would make a way. The key to that trust was to not stray from His Word. They needed to be strong and courageous and not tremble or be dismayed. They needed to lean not on their own understanding, but to trust that God would make a way. After all, “have I not commanded you?” says the Lord.
Perhaps this word is for us as well. Perhaps it is time to enter the territory God has planned for us, an uncharted territory that will seem foreign to us. That territory, I believe, is to be a real roots church. To go back to the early days when believers gathered, sang praises, fellowshipped, loved one another, were a beacon to the lost. That, I believe is God’s desire for us. Will we let old attitudes die? Will we trust in His Word and not stray from it? Will we be strong and courageous, even in the face of giants? We will remember that God Himself has commanded us, and be the church we are intended to be?
-- Pastor Justin