"2006-Leaping Towards the Next Level"
Scripture of the Week: Joshua 1:1-18 (weekly devotional)
Introduction: I believe we are in the midst of great transitions in the body of Christ. There is a changing of the guard in many ways, let me explain. Joshua 1:1 in the message Bible says "After the death of Moses, the servant of God, God spoke to Joshua, Moses assistant. Moses my servant is dead get going." Moses had fulfilled a powerful destiny. Moses was a man who gave forty years of sacrifice from age eighty to age one hundred and twenty to the people of God; people that he was used by God to bring out of Egyptian bondage. These chose to stay with him and remained faithful even though "the people" chose to wander. Moses would have been glad to possess the Canaan Land but God would never override the will of the people who chose to murmur and complain. Still a land filled with milk and honey was prepared for them. Joshua would be called to be the successor of Moses. One great man of God has said there will be no success without a successor. I believe that to be the case. Moses fulfilled his purpose and destiny. It was now Joshua's time to press to the next level.
In order to go to the next level there is a requirement that we release the past and cleave to the future. Joshua could have become overwhelmed by the responsibility of trying to follow a leader of the caliber of Moses. He could have played the comparison game. He could have someone who chose to drown in what seemed to be his inadequacies if he chose to compare himself to the charismatic talented yet humble man, Moses who had been so gifted and so used of God. But Joshua had been very loyal. Joshua had been an armor bearer really to Moses. Joshua's heart was much like his leader. Joshua was a man of high principle, high integrity and character who did not stagger at the Word of the Lord but responded to God's beckoning call. God promised Joshua in the third verse of Joshua chapter one (NIV) "I will give you every place where you set your foot as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the dessert to Lebanon to the great river Euphrates. No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life." Then he said something that really must have been a faith builder to Joshua. "As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will never leave you, I will never forsake you." What a powerful old covenant type and shadow of the very words of Jesus when He said "Low I am with you always, even to the end of the age." As you press toward the next level that God has for you, know with certainty that as God leads He will always be there, you can trust Him. Don't become comfortable with what has been. Embrace the greatness God has prepared for your future.
The Lord began to stir Joshua up and remind Him again and again that He could fulfill His purpose and destiny. In the six verse of Joshua chapter one "Be strong and courageous" God would say "Because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them." Notice that He reminded him that this was a promise that had been sworn to the forefathers. Always remember this about God; God is not double-minded. God does not forget His promises. God will stay true to the integrity of His Word. He had promised the forefathers something that would be made manifest, even though it would be in the future, it had come time for things to come to their fullness. God would continue to remind Joshua "Be strong and very courageous". "Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left that you may be successful wherever you go." So we see here that obedience is a major key to success. That obedience is the key to purpose and destiny. It doesn't matter what God has said if somebody is not willing to respond to what He said and follow through on what He said. He is the perfect Father who gives absolute clear direction yet He still expects his children to follow what He says. It is unique that He doesn't make us do anything but He gives us the ability to choose life or choose death; to choose the next level or to choose to wander in the past. I have chosen, Way of Life Ministries where I Pastor has chosen, our Evangelistic Traveling Ministry has chosen to press on to the midst of the next level.
In verse eight of chapter one in the book of Joshua says "Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth." Notice that, our confession must be what God's word is. Proverbs chapter eighteen says "Life and death is in the power of our tongue and with it will be blessing or cursing." The words of our mouth will bring us life, death, prosperity or struggle. It really is up to us. Verse eight continues to say "Meditate on that word day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it." God's told us in the New Testament, 1 Peter 5 to cast all our care on Him but He continually reminds us in the scriptures, to be careful. There is a time to be careful and that time to be careful is when it comes to properly treating and handling the Word of God and the direction of the Lord in a posture of total and complete obedience; meditation, musing, considering, rolling over in your spirit and your mind what God says is very important. It is the key to not allowing fear, doubt and unbelief to stifle your future and to hinder the direction God's has for you. He said "Be careful to do everything written in it." So complete obedience is what God wants. Partial obedience is disobedience, not obedience at all. He went on to say "Then you will be prosperous." When? Then. When you obey the Word of the Lord. You will be prosperous and successful. Verse nine states "Have not I commanded you to be strong and courageous." It is really encouraging how God continued to bring that up. He's pouring a mandate word of encouragement into his great man Joshua. What is exciting, is as we move on in the chapter this week, we will see that Joshua really gets it. Not only Joshua but the people of God begin to grasp it as well.
I find great comfort in the closing part of Joshua chapter one, verse nine where God says once again says "Be strong and of good courage." Then he says "Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged for the Lord Your God will be with you wherever you go." There He is again reminding him that "I'll always be with you". I am man who has given the majority of his life to ministry, I have been saved longer than I was lost, saved at age 18 and I am now 40 years old. As I live for God it never gets old to receive the encouragement of knowing that He is always going to be there. He takes away the terror. He takes away discouragement; continues to pump our hearts full of encouragement, with a "can do attitude" in a world that says you can't. For as long God who is greater than the world says we can, then we can know that we can and by His grace we will. Joshua ordered the officers of the people go to the camp and tell the people to get your supplies ready as three days from now we will cross the Jordan to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God has given you for your own. That is an exciting thing. It is time to press to the next level. God had to get his leader going toward the next lever before the people could go toward the next level. That is why it is so imperative to be hooked up and locked in to an on fire, New Testament, Holy Ghost, Word centered church; a place where God Himself has placed His name. Leadership will take you forward and false leadership will hold you back. It is so imperative that you know that you are in the proper position of where God wants you to be.
Joshua had received the courage of the Lord. He had given direction to his people in what they would do in their next steps. What is so encouraging is, after pouring that which he had received from the Lord; we see a beautiful picture of God's best church government, God to His man to the people. In verse sixteen the people answered Joshua "Whatever you have commanded us we will do, wherever you send us we will go. Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so will we obey you." This was not the crowd that was disobedient, please understand, but this was the group of people that loved God and would obey His word. (The younger crowd) "Only may the Lord God be with you even as He was with Moses. Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey your words, we will take care of them, and we will deal with them personally. Only be strong and very courageous." It is exciting to know that not only did Joshua want to hear the voice of God and go to the next level, but the people, the Joshua generation did not want to wander in the wilderness as the Moses generation chose to do. Rather they desired to be catalyst changed in order to experience God's best and taste of the wonderfulness of their future. Likewise, He has a next level for you. Don't be limited by man's degree. Let nothing stop you from pressing into the areas of victory of every part of you life that God has planned for you, your family and your future.