Saturday, October 18, 2008

Facing the Future Without Fear



October 19, 2008

And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses. Deuteronomy 34:9
A new leader and a new day are ahead of God’s children. For Joshua and the children of Isreal, there was fear about the future.

Now lets look at Joshua 1: 1-9:
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt said: “...the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
The children of Israel were at a crossroads and their leader had died. They did not know what the future held for them. God gave the new leader, Joshua, encouraging words:

So I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. (v.5)
Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. (v. 9)

Lets look at these statements.
A. “I will be with thee.”
B. “I will not fail thee.”
C. “Nor forsake thee.”
D. ”For the Lord is with thee.”
That is what the Lord promises Joshua and the children of Israel.

Now let’s look at what He commanded them to do.
A. “Be strong.”
B. “Be of good courage.”
C. “Be not afraid.”
D. “Be not dismayed .”

Wrapped up in our scripture are four very powerful words which are:
Purpose, Promise, Power, and Presence.

In this lesson this morning I want us to think about two things:

1. The Fear of the Future for the Children of Israel.

Be strong and very courageous! This is a statement that God gave Joshua for what lay ahead.
I asked the question to myself: “why did God tell Joshua to be strong and courageous?” The answer? Because God knew what was ahead. Let’s look at at verse 2:


Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
Now this was wonderful! Just get up and go across the river and I will give you the land that you cross! I will even go with you! Boy, that is wonderful! Nothing to worry about, right? Wrong!
The reason God told Joshua to be strong and unafraid was that God knew the future and what it held.


If they had known what the future held, we might have a different ending to this story.
There were to come many places and things that God would lead His children through. Whenever they followed His leading they would win. When they didn’t follow His leading, they lost. I won't take time to tell about all of what they went through but know this:
Every step of the way there was a battle to win and enemy to overcome and God kept His promises to them! He gave them His presence!

2. Our future.
Go with me now to the gospel of John chapter 14:1-3, 15-18.
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
vs. 15-18
If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

It seems that lately I keep coming back to these verses to find help for these last days. So please forgive me if you are tired of reading this. However, I think we need to have a clear understanding that we are going to need the presence of the Holy Spirit for what lays ahead.
We don’t know what tomorrow holds but I can see that this world is changing before our very eyes and it does not look like the changes for the best for God people.


Let’s look at Matt. 24:3-13.
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?’ And Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilence, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Then look at 2 Thess. 2:1-12 from the N.I.V.
Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work: but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

The future does not look very bright for this world that we are living in, right? Lets read on.
Look at 2 Thess 2:13-17. We find out that God does keep His promises!
But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace. Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.

I want us to look again at the eight statements that you read at the beginning of the message:
Let’s look at these statements.
A. “I will be with thee.”
B. “I will not fail thee.”
C. “Nor forsake thee.”
D. ”For the Lord is with thee.”
That is what the Lord promises Joshua and the children of Israel.

Now let’s look at what He commanded them to do.
A. “Be strong.”
B. “Be of good courage.”
C. “Be nor afraid.”
D. “Be not dismayed .”

Conclusion: This story is a little long but I want to share it because it has the message wrapped up in it.


The passengers on the bus watched sympathetically as the attractive young woman with the white cane made her way carefully up the steps. She paid the driver and, using her hands to feel the location of the seats, walked down the aisle and found the seat he’d told her was empty. Then she settled in, placed her briefcase on her lap and rested her cane against her leg.It had been a year since Susan, thirty-four, became blind. Due to a medical misdiagnosis she had been rendered sightless, and she was suddenly thrown into a world of darkness, anger, frustration and self-pity. Once a fiercely independent woman, Susan now felt condemned by this terrible twist of fate to become a powerless, helpless burden on everyone around her."How could this have happened to me?" she would plead, her heart knotted with anger. But no matter how much she cried or ranted or prayed, she knew the painful truth her sight was never going to return. And all she had to cling to was her husband Mark. Mark was an Air Force officer and he loved Susan with all of his heart. Finally, Susan felt ready to return to her job, but how would she get there? She used to take the bus, but was now too frightened to get around the city by herself. Mark volunteered to drive her to work each day, even though they worked at opposite ends of the city. At first, this comforted Susan and fulfilled Mark’s need to protect his sightless wife who was so insecure about performing the slightest task. Soon, however, Mark realized that this arrangement wasn’t working - it was hectic, and costly. Susan is going to have to start taking the bus again, he admitted to himself. Susan was horrified at the idea of taking the bus again. "I’m blind!" she responded bitterly. "How am I supposed to know where I’m going? I feel like you’re abandoning me." Mark’s heart broke to hear these words, but he knew what had to be done. He promised Susan that each morning and evening he would ride the bus with her, for as long as it took, until she got the hang of it. And that is exactly what happened.For two solid weeks, Mark, military uniform and all, accompanied Susan to and from work each day. He taught her how to rely on her other senses, specifically her hearing, to determine where she was and how to adapt to her new environment. He helped her befriend the bus drivers who could watch out for her, and save her a seat. He made her laugh, even on those not-so-good days when she would trip exiting the bus, or drop her briefcase.Finally, Susan decided that she was ready to try the trip on her own. Monday morning arrived, and before she left, she threw her arms around Mark, her temporary bus riding companion, her husband, and her best friend. She said good-bye, and for the first time, they went their separate ways. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday... Each day on her own went perfectly, and Susan had never felt better. She was doing it! She was going to work all by herself! On Friday morning, Susan took the bus to work as usual. As she was paying for her fare to exit the bus, the driver said, "Boy, I sure envy you." Susan wasn’t sure if the driver was speaking to her or not. After all, who on earth would ever envy a blind woman who had struggled just to find the courage to live for the past year? Curious, she asked the driver, "Why do you say that you envy me?"The driver responded, "It must feel so good to be taken care of and protected like you are." Susan had no idea what the driver was talking about, and asked again, "What do you mean?" The driver answered, "You know, every morning for the past week, a fine looking gentleman in a military uniform has been standing across the corner watching you when you get off the bus. He makes sure you cross the street safely and he watches you until you enter your office building. Then he blows you a kiss, gives you a little salute and walks away. You are one lucky lady."


God watches over us in just the same way. We may not know He is present. We may not be able to see His face, but He is there nonetheless! Be blessed in this thought:

"God Loves You - even when you are not looking."
People of faith can face the uncertain future with certainty. We can face each day as Joshua did, with God’s purpose, promise, power, and presence.


“How Firm a Foundation”
Fear not: I am with thee. Oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, I will still give thee aid.
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My gracious, omnipotent hand.

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