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Archive for the ‘Fear’ Category

I love this sermon title from January 23rd. At the beginning of the sermon, the pastor asked a few questions to get us thinking – Why is what God says in his word not true in my life? Why am I stuck? He was preaching from Joshua 1 and, as a background to the text, reminded us of what happened during the Exodus.

The people forgot about their slavery, forgot the freedom God provided. They saw Pharaoh chasing them and they were terrified (They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”- Exodus 14:11-12)

They grumbled and wandered. Now they stood at the banks of the Jordan River, looking at the Promised Land, a land that should have been theirs 39 years earlier. They had been there before but had failed. The end of Plan B was in sight.

In our Plan B, we drift into the questions and feelings that usher us away from hope and God –  Why is this happening? Am I being punished? Why aren’t God’s promises fulfilled in my life? Does God hate me?

God asks us to take risks, just like he was leading Joshua to take the risk of leadership. God doesn’t want fear to paralyze us – The fear of failure, the fear of rejection, the fear of shame. Fear. Joshua was put at the head of a complaining, obstinate people. He was replacing The Man. Moses. Therefore, God spoke these promises and challenges to Joshua in chapter 1:1-9

After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites.  I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.  Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west.  No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life.

As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 

Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.

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 or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.  Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.

Do not be afraid;

do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

At the end of the sermon, the pastor asked, “Would God want me to be a joke?” I had been thinking for some time prior to this sermon that I was the joke, not work. So, it was a penetrating question into a penetrating wound because I know my life is a joke. I do fear. I am past the point of discouragement. I have accepted that I am wandering in a desert and it is my fault.

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