Issue 47, November 2023
Accepting The Changes That God Brings
By Pastor Joe O'Neill
“After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying: 'Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel.'" (Joshua 1:1-2).
One of the great challenges we all face is change. Things are constantly changing all around us. We see in Joshua 1:1-2 that change is often part of God's plan. Let's notice that God's commands to Joshua are also applicable to us as we face change.
I. The Lord wants us to move on from the past.
Joshua needed to be reminded that the past was gone. "Moses My servant is dead." The reality of change is amplified when someone we know and love passes on to their eternal reward. Such was the change that Joshua faced when Moses died. As much as Joshua might have wished that Moses was around to lean on, it just wasn't so anymore. The past no longer exists. We don't forget the past completely, but we are to learn from it and move on from it.
Sometimes a momma bird gives her little one a nudge when it is time for the younger bird to get out of the nest and get flying. If we constantly dwell on the security of the nest of the past, we miss the opportunities that the living God places before us today. If we dwell only on the past, we are like a car that is stuck in a rut, spinning, but not going anywhere.
The apostle Paul speaks about the past when he says in Philippians 3:13, "But one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead." Have you put the past behind you, like the apostle Paul did? The Lord wants you to! He wants us to trust Him for the good change that He brings into our lives.
II. The Lord wants us to move into the present.
When the traffic light turns green, it is time to step on the gas and go. Joshua was told by the Lord to "get going." "Arise, go over this Jordan." There was so much to be done! The Jordan River was to be crossed and the people of God were to be led into the promised land. It was time for the Israelites to inherit the land that God promised their forefathers hundreds of years before. It was time to embrace the promises of God and to fight for them!
We too are to get up and stand on those promises given to us by God. The light is green for the saints to start marching forward. Our feet are to move to the beat of the Lord's promises. "Greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world" (1 John 4:4). The Lord's mercies are new every morning, but we need to welcome the promises like a child welcomes Christmas.
III. The Lord wants us to move up to the future.
Joshua had so much to do, but he is told in Joshua 1:8 to “meditate” on God's Word "day and night." It would only be through obedience to the Word of God that Joshua would have the blessing of God and the power of God. It is only through the guidance of the Word of God and obedience in doing what He says that victory comes.
We know that Joshua faced many challenges in his service to the LORD. But whenever he and the people followed God's directions, they had great success. And we will certainly have success if we get ourselves ready by being faithful to the Word of God. If we hide God's word in our hearts we won't sin against Him (Psalm 119:11). If we hold to the Scriptures we can defeat the devil and all his wily ways. We can live above the world if we are humbly at His feet, listening to Him in His Word.
So when the change alarm goes off, don't push the "snooze" button. It's time to get up! It is time to get going! It's time to be ready through the Scriptures to face what the future holds. We don't have to fear change. We don't have to fear the future. The LORD holds the future! The LORD will bring good change in our lives. He brings changes for His glory! And He is with us. He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). He has a good plan for His obedient people. We can count on it!