Joshua and Caleb were the only two, out of all the Israelites, who came close enough to the promised land to actually walk into the promise. Imagine the disappointment they must have felt as a whole nation had to turn their backs on that promise and just walk away. Imagine trying to live the next forty years full of faith and expectation, when they knew they had come so close.
But, they did it! They were the only two to walk into a new era, In fact, it was Joshua who was given the big job of leading his nation through their previous disappointment and into the promise. God spoke to Joshua as he embarked on this new era and his first words were:
“Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people…”
Joshua 1:2 (NIV)
Often, to fully embrace a new era, we have to let go of the past. For Joshua, God was saying more than the obvious. He was telling him to let go of the disappointment; let go of the old thinking; see yourselves differently. See yourselves as owners, rather than borrowers; see yourselves as inhabitants, not wanderers; see yourselves as thrivers, not survivors!
For Joshua to make this shift he had to let go of the Moses era, which was an era of survival; it was living day to day and hand to mouth. That era was over. However, the thing Joshua had to do was be courageous enough to walk into and lead a nation into the promise.
“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.”
Joshua 1:6 (NIV)
Three times the Lord said to Joshua “be strong and courageous”. We know that God is our strength; we know that when we are weak, He is strong. God did amazing, powerful things that Joshua could never have dreamed of, but what only Joshua could do, was use his own strength and courage to leave the familiar, leave the disappointment and walk across that river into a new land and a new era.
What is God asking you to leave behind as we walk into an exciting new era?
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the laws my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:7 (NIV)
Let’s remember to be filled with faith, courage and expectation this Sunday!