I Can Carry You
Series: Guest Speaker
January 03, 2021
Well good morning, everyone, and Happy New Year! I know many of you are like me and are so excited that we can finally refer to 2020 as something of the past, amen?
How many of you stayed up to watch the ball drop on Thursday night? I can promise you this, I was not one of those people. I was asleep by 9 o’clock. But nevertheless, I was excited to wake up and see that the calendar said “January 1st, 2021”!!!
And as we start this new year, there’s something in Joshua 1 that I want us to look at this morning.
See, we know that Joshua was the successor to Moses. He was the backup QB of sorts, and the book of Joshua starts off by noting that since Moses has died, it was now going to be Joshua’s responsibility of leading the Israelites.
If you know anything about the background of the Israelites during this period of time, you know that they weren’t exactly the greatest team to lead.
Joshua wasn’t stepping into the QB role of a team that resembled the New England Patriots, rather the Israelites resembled closer to the New York Jets.
Because of the downfalls of the people of Israel, we know that they were in the wilderness for 40 years.
You would agree with me that for some of us, 2020 sure seemed like 40 years.
Nevertheless, with all of these negative experiences just behind him, God commissions Joshua, just as he does us today, that we can look to the next chapter with confidence, all because of God’s promises to us, his provision for us, and his presence with us.
Lets look at our text today in Joshua 1 beginning in verse 1.
After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. 5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
I would like to title this message today, “I Can Carry You”…… would you pray with me?I want to mention 3 truth’s in our text today, and the first truth we see is that of
Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses.
Here we see that now that Moses has died, it will be Joshua’s responsibility to fulfill that to which God promised Moses: The Promised Land.
Now, notice in the text when it says, “every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you”
Here we see God has given land to Joshua and his people, but it was still their job to posses it.
In other words, God is calling Joshua to take possession of his possessions.
Saint Augustine once said that, “When God provides the wind, man must raise the sail.”
Think about the idea of financing something, a house or a vehicle. Once you sign on the dotted line agreeing that you’ll make monthly payments on that to which you are buying, it becomes yours once you have it — but you still have to make all of the payments necessary to ACTUALLY own what it is that you own.
Even though it is yours, there are some steps you have to complete for it to truly be yours.
It works the same way when it comes to what many would call victorious Christian living — God has already given us all we need in Christ Jesus, but he gives us the option on if we want to posses that victorious life that we’ve been given.
God instructs Joshua that in order to possess this land, he must lead the people to cross over the Jordan river. Now, many theologians and scholars note the significance and the clear symbolism of the Jordan river.
— Crossing the Jordan began Joshua’s conquest and a transition from Moses to Himself.
— Elijah transferred the prophetic mantel to Elisha while standing in the Jordan.
— John Baptized Jesus in the Jordan — Which brought about the transition from John’s prophetic ministry, into Jesus’ messianic ministry.
By even studying things such as hymnology, and the history of the songs that we use to speak of the things of The Lord, we see that the Jordan River is a widely used theme of many songs.
Like the one that says,
We are crossing Jordan River
I Want my crown, I want my crown
We are crossing Jordan River
I want my crown, my golden crown
Jordan River, deep and wide
I got a home on the other side
The Jordan River is something that symbolizes the idea of new life, a transition, a new chapter if you will.
And here God is telling Joshua that he has promised him the land that stands on the other side of the Jordan, and all God wants Joshua to do is take God up on that to which he is promised.
Which leads me to ask you watching, have you taken possession of what God has promised to you, salvation through His Son Jesus Christ?
Just as some were not able to enter into the land that God promised because of a hard heart, some people are not able to enter into the life that God has promised because of a hard heart.
Look at Hebrews 4:6 when the author speaks of this very idea from Joshua when the text says,
"6 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,
“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”
Right now, wherever you are watching, you can cross over your spiritual Jordan, by simply doing what the Bible says and calling on the name of the Lord, and knowing that if you do so, he promises to save you.
See, what can give us confidence in stepping into this new chapter, crossing over into the new year, is the fact that while times change, people change, weather changes, and pretty much everything else in the world changes, God and His promises to us remain the same.
The Bible scholar James Montgomery Boice put it this way when he said,
“God’s purposes do not change. People change: All those who were twenty years and over who came out of Egypt with Moses died in the desert. It was a new generation that entered the land. Leaders change: Joshua replaced Moses. But God does not change. God is the same, and so are the purposes that he has established for his redeemed people.
Or as Hebrews 13:8 says,
“8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
We can go into the new year with confidence because we know that no matter what else changes, God and His promises never do.Not only do we see the truth of God’s promise, but we also see the truth of…
5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
We see that God’s provision is a two facet reality: The first facet of God’s provision is that of God’s preparations, and the second is His prerequisites.
In regard to the first facet, we know that because God tells Joshua that because He will guide him, there will be nothing or no one that will be able to stop him from fulfilling God’s plan.
God will provide all that he needs, and was already making preparations to provide for him.
The reason why this is important is because if it were not for God, Joshua would not be able to even cross over the Jordan in the first place to begin the conquest.
See, it was the spring of the year, the time of the barley harvest, when floods came plunging down off of the Rift Valley from the melting snow. This would always cause the Jordan to be at flood stage this time of year. Usually the only time anyone would be able to cross the Jordan on foot would be in the late summer.
Nevertheless, God chose this specific time to call Joshua to lead the people through the Jordan, and into the Land. Therefore, without God doing something miraculous and showing up, this conquest would fail.
See, God in His sovereignty was already making preparations to dry up the Jordan river, but there was also a prerequisite for this to happen: God gave Joshua directions on what he should instruct the people to do, in order for The Lord to bring about what he has already sovereignly prepared to miraculously happen.
God says to Joshua that if he will listen to what God says, then his way will be prosperous and he will have good success.
But something else, have you ever noticed that all the miraculous things that God does for his people throughout the scriptures, there’s no way that they would be able to do those things themselves?
In other words, God rarely performs miracles for those who think they can perform their own miracles.
And here lies the true prerequisite that God requires of us — Understanding that we should want him to be our provider, because we NEED him to be our provider.
So many of us struggle with truly putting our life in the hands of God, because we think that we don’t need to — We can do it ourselves.
And you know, the reality is is that you maybe can do everything yourself and you may be able to build a life — through constant striving and gritting your teeth and pulling yourself up by your boot straps, you just might be able to create a decent life for yourself. But let me ask you this: Do you think you can do so better than God?
Let me frame it this way:
I was a decent athlete. And you can put a baseball bat in my hands, and I might be able to give you a couple hits here and there — But you put a baseball bat in the hands of Ken Griffey Jr and he’ll give you 500+ homeruns, multiple MVP’s, and a couple of championships.
You can put a golf club in my hand, and I might be able to give you a few good drives. — But you put that same golf club in the hands of Tiger Woods or Dustin Johnson, and they’ll give you several major championships and green jackets.
You can put a rocket in my hands, and I might be able to figure out how to get that thing to shoot up a few feet off the ground. — But you put a rocket in the hands of Elon Musk, and he’ll take that rocket and send people into space.
You put some nails in my hands, and I might be able to build you a decent piece of art — But you put those nails in the hands of Jesus, and he’ll use them to forgive you of your sins.
We put our lives in our hands, and we might be able to do some great things — But we put our lives in God’s hands, and he will do exceedingly and abundantly above all we could ever hope for, ask , or imagine.
Will you spend 2021 by placing your life in God’s hands?
If so, then just what he did for Joshua, he will do for you: He will provide.
Philippians 4:19 says that, God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”Not only do we see the truth of God’s promise and his provision, but finally we see in the text the truth of……
9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
When it comes to the presence of God, and Him being with us wherever we go, there’s always hope. Or in other words, when God is in your corner, your always in the fight.
This is why Romans 8:31 says,
“If God is for us, who can be against us?
See, as we approach this new chapter and all that will come with it, I would be lieing to you if I thought that there wouldn’t be trials and tribulations that we will have to walk through, just like we did in 2020.
In closing today, I want to share with you what I believe to be one of the most powerful moment in movie history, from my all-time favorite movie, “Return of The King” from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. (You caught me, I’m a nerd)
But in this scene, we see Frodo Baggins (who is the only one who can carry this ring) and his best friend Sam, two hobbits, almost at the end of their journey to destroy the ring that has so much power that it is unhealthy for anyone to have it. Through the long journey of climbing mountains, fighting enemies, and going days without food and water, Sam is ready to give up.
And maybe you look back at 2020 as the longest journey you have ever gone through. From the pandemic, to the economy, not being able to see family members and friends, and all the negatives that have come with this past year. — Maybe your like Sam, and you have had enough — And you are just ready to give up.
If so, I want you to take a quick look at this powerful scene between Frodo and Sam, in Lord of The Rings, Return of The King.
In 2021, there will be things that all of us will have to carry. But by understanding God’s promises to us, his provision for us, and his presence with us, we can approach this next chapter with confidence. Because we know that even if things come that are heavy and tough to carry, God looks at us and says, “I know you are having trouble carrying this, but because I love you, I will carry you”
Reminds me of an old Southern Gospel song that I heard in church as a small child, which says,
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