After the death of Moses the Lord’s servant, the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant. He said, “Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. Joshua 1:1-2
But Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end. Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as when they provoked me, as in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tried Me by testing Me, and saw My works for forty years. Therefore I was angry with this generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, and they did not know My ways’; as I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest’” So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief. Hebrews 3:6-19
But the Lord was angry with me on your account, and would not listen to me; and the Lord said to me, ‘Enough! Speak to Me no more of this matter. Go up to the top of Pisgah and lift up your eyes to the west and north and south and east, and see it with your eyes, for you shall not cross over this Jordan. But charge Joshua and encourage him and strengthen him, for he shall go across at the head of this people, and he will give them as an inheritance the land which you will see.’ Deuteronomy 3:26-28
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
Joshua is about to lead a new generation into the land that God had promised. While there will be new failures, it is this new generation that God considers prepared for entering the promised land. There was a lot that happened between God’s bringing His people forth from Egypt and this moment when He is about to bring them into the promised land. The generation that went before this new generation was not permitted to enter the promised land because of past failures. The adults of this new generation came out of Egypt as children and saw the mistakes of the generation that went before them. They are like the anchor leg of a relay team who will run the last leg of a race. It is absolutely essential that they finish by faith. Getting into the promised land will require of them significant faith dependence on God for bringing them across the Jordan River. For the leadership and for the people they serve, crossing the Jordan River will be an important part of their being a people who live by faith.
The significant thing here is that a new generation of God’s chosen people will be led over the Jordan and into the promised land by new leadership because of past failures of both the previous generation and its leaders. The Scripture above attributes unbelief on the part of the previous generation as being the reason for God’s anger toward them and the consequence of not being allowed to enter the promised land. In addition, the Lord was angry with Moses when at a particular point during the time he led God’s people in the wilderness, he let his own anger toward the people keep him from properly carrying out God’s instructions for providing water out of the rock at Meribah. Because of this disobedience/unbelief, God did not permit Moses to enter into the promised land and instead brought his life to an end after being allowed at least to gaze upon the promised land from the peak of Pisgah on Mount Hor.
Past mistakes of those who have gone before or even our own mistakes in the past can powerfully interfere with our responding in faith to God’s promises for us today. How easily our view is captured by a backwards focus instead of a forward one that helps us journey toward the fullness of what God has in store for us. We do look back but only to learn from past failures so that we can go forward in ways that keep us from repeating those failures and allow us to experience the victory of faith in the actual fulfillment of what God has promised to bring about for us.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, I want to forget what lies behind and to reach forward to what lies ahead. I want to press on toward the goal for the prize of your upward call. I know I don’t have to be stuck in the past only dreaming of the future. Help me to be released from the past. Help me to not repeat the past. Help me to press on victoriously into the fullness of all you have promised me. Amen!
Posted on Tue, August 29, 2017
by Ken Hart