Joshua 3, God Will Lead You To Receive His Promises

Joshua 3, God Will Lead You To Receive His Promises
1. Expect God To Lead You In New Ways (v2-3)
2. Pay Close Attention To God’s Leading (v4)
3. Prepare Yourself For God’s Leading (v5)
4. Prepare Today For God’s Leading Tomorrow (v5)

Pastor Jerry sharing Joshua 3, God Will Lead You To Receive His Promises

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Jerry Simmons shared this Verse By Verse Bible study from Joshua on Wednesday, July 21, 2021.

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Well, as we look at Joshua, Chapter three tonight, I've titled the message, God will lead you to receive his promises. God will lead you to receive his promises. And so here we are in the journey along with Israel really kind of transitioning from the life and leadership of moses to now the leadership of Joshua and a whole new experience for the Children of Israel at this time, as we head out of Deuteronomy and the retelling of those things that God had instructed and the retelling of all God's promises and the encouragement to enter into the promised land and two step in by faith and receive what God had for them here in the book of Joshua there, right there on the verge of it, they're sitting there camped at the Jordan river now at this time it explains here in the chapter that it's overflowing its banks so it's extra wide, it's extra deep, the current is extra strong and so the Jordan river provides somewhat of an obstacle for them to cross over into the land. And so they're just sitting there looking at this obstacle, they're just sitting there looking at this uh thing that's kind of keeping them from just crossing over. Now when you go to Israel today, the Jordan river, you know, is not as impressive as it must have been back then. It was a quite different experience for them when it was overflowing and strategically crossing a river can be really dangerous when you're entering into enemy territory leaves you very vulnerable to get a couple of people across is no problem, but to try to bring the whole congregation across, it puts you in a place where you are vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy and so here they are, they are at the edge of what God has for them. They have a new leader now, Joshua, so things are changing for them. They have this obstacle that presents a bit of a danger ahead of them and they're camped here for a few days while they wait to hear back from the spies and wait to receive the instruction from the Lord. You know, one of the interesting things about walking with the Lord is there are those times where things are just kind of humming along smoothly and you know, God's just speak in and there's movements, but then there's other seasons where it's like you're on a roller coaster and you know, you hear the click click click, you kind of feel the tension mounting, like you see the things that are coming and you know like you're going to get to the top and then all of a sudden things are going to get real, it's going to drop, its going to go faster, it's going to be twists and turns and curves and as I've been sharing with you guys for the past several weeks that's kind of the experience where I'm at right now, sometimes life is a bit of a roller coaster and in the workplace, uh things are dramatically changing for me And it's interesting how God is lined up this new season for me with the things that we're going through in the scriptures and this new role. So if I haven't said it enough yet, so I'm now responsible for the marketing department at urban surfaces where I work and it's it's a whole new thing. I would have refused this role even though it was offered to me if God had not been telling me to go forward like this is not, I spent the last 2.5 years avoiding any kind of responsibility or leadership, like I just actively, I do not want to be in this position, but as I was praying over it and reading through Deuteronomy, Deuteronomy is there the Lord's speaking to a group of people who are not equipped not prepared for the battles that lay ahead, but God's telling them, trust me, I want you to go in, I have good things for you. So go in and enter in and through that. The Lord just kept telling me the same thing. And so now I'm heading into Joshua and I'm sitting at the camp, you know, the border of the river and there's a, there's obstacles and there's danger and there's vulnerabilities and I'm going to, you know, be seeking the Lord and and it's interesting how the Lord aligns these things up many times and it's not just because I'm pastor jerry right? The thing that I want to encourage you and is that this is what God wants to do in all of our lives. Now, not every day of all of our lives is an exciting roller coaster, right? There's different seasons that God works, but wherever we're at and whatever God has this plan for us. The point is that he will lead you to receive his promises. He has good things for you. He has promises. He wants to work out in your life. Promises found throughout the scriptures, promises that he has given to you personally and individually, you know, laid upon your heart and God wants to lead you in those things and to lead you into those promises is it's combined with a walk of faith in a walk of obedience that allows you, that brings you in to receive those things. And that's what we see happen under the leadership of Joshua that the Children of Israel. Now the time previous to this, when they're on the border of the promised land, they did not have faith and they were not obedient, but now they're going to trust God and they're going to obey and cross over and do what he says and really begin to receive the promises that he has for them. And so as we consider those things. And this example for us, there's four points I want to walk us through tonight here in Joshua Chapter 3 to help us consider what God has for us and how we can receive those promises by trusting him and responding to what he is saying to us. And so the first thing for us to consider tonight, found in verse two and three. Here's point number one, expect God to lead you in new ways, expect God to lead you in new ways. Check out verse two and three again, here's what it says. So it was after three days that the officers went through the camp and they commanded the people saying when you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord, your God and the priest, the leavitt's bearing it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it. Now just reading the verses, there's nothing really seemingly dramatic here until you stop and reflect upon the change that is taking place here as they're kept there for a few days. The officers now go tell the people, hey guys, when you see the ark of the covenant begin to be carried by the priest and the Levite, it's then you shall set out from your place and go after what? Why did the officers of the people have to give this instruction. This whole generation has spent their time in the wilderness being led by the Lord. And so we would expect them to be familiar with being led by the Lord on into the next phase. But what's interesting to consider here is this is a new way that God was going to be leading them. I'm sure you remember in the wilderness as they came out of Egypt, God led the Children of Israel with a cloud by D and a pillar of fire by night numbers. Chapter nine describes it really well for us. Of course it shows up first in the book of Exodus, but here in numbers chapter nine verse 17 and 18, it tells us when the cloud was taken up from above the Tabernacle. After that, the Children of Israel would journey and in the place where the clouds settled there, the Children of Israel would pitch their tents at the command of the Lord. The Children of Israel would journey and at the command of the Lord, they would camp as long as the clouds stayed above the Tabernacle, they remained encamped This whole time, this past 40 years in the wilderness. This generation, that's on the verge of the promised land. Right now, they've experienced their whole lives essentially. This leading of God in this particular way, moving from police to police out in the wilderness, this pillar of fire, this cloud would lead them, would descend and show them where to camp, then would lift up and go before them to show them which direction to go. And the Lord Manifesting himself through this cloud through this pillar of fire would lead his people and so it says in verse 18, it was at the command of the Lord, the cloud would descend, the cloud would ascend it would lead them on. It was the command of the Lord. It was the Lord instructing them through this particular manifestation through the cloud, through the fire. But that's not gonna happen any longer here. The instruction given to the people is that those days are over, no more cloud, no more fire. Similarly as they enter into the promised land, as they have been receiving manner every day throughout their time in the wilderness that God just provided overnight, every night, the man, I was going to cease as soon as they cross over. They're really heading into New Seasons where God is going to be providing for them different ways and God is going to be leading them. Or you could understand us commanding them, giving them a course, setting them on a path differently than they've ever experienced before. Now, in some ways it wasn't different. So now the priest and the Levite would pick up the ark of God. And if you remember the ark of God and the instructions of the Tabernacle, that's where the presence of God would dwell. The ark was a box about this size. That's why this is up here. So not exactly but similar like this size. It was a box that had legs and poles and the priest would bear it on their shoulders. And then on top of the box there would be this covering that had two angels to Chair of them and it was between the wings of the chair of them that the presence of God would dwell. And so the ark going before the people here in the book of Joshua is the presence of God going before the people. It still speaks of the same thing the cloud and the pillar represent and speak to the people of the presence of God in their lives, the leading of God in their lives, the command of God in their lives, those things were still going to be present. The presence of God, the leading of God, the command of God. But it was going to look different. It wasn't going to be exactly the same experience. Now they're going to follow the arc instead of following the cloud, they're going to be led by God speaking to the leader telling the priest, okay, priest hoist up the ark and start to march. And so the chain of command was going to be a little bit different. The experience was going to be different for the leader Joshua for the people as they were following. There's going to be new things that God is doing in the midst of this and it's here centered around this arc of the covenant Pastor Thomas Constable says the writer mentions the Ark 17 times In Chapter three and 4, it was the visible symbol that God himself was leading his people into the land and against their enemies. And so they had this strong reminder in the ark of the covenant, strong reminder of the presence of God, a strong reminder that God was with them and leading them, But also it was different and you can just try to imagine, you know, kind of put yourself in their shoes for a moment for 40 years, having experienced this very clear, you know, everybody could look up and see, the the cloud or the fire and if you ever wondered, I wonder if God is with us, you know, just kinda have to like pick out your tent a little bit, I see the fire and I could see the flickering perhaps even without opening the tent, like there was that very clear presence of God that they, that they had with them there in that wilderness time. But now it would be a very different experience visually, it's not going to look the same, it's not going to feel the same. Perhaps I would venture to guess that there was some different emotions that the Children of Israel were kind of working through as they learn to walk with God in this new way that he was leading them and not having the same type of reference, you know, that they could just look and see but but the ark of the covenant is this size. Now, this isn't that big when you're considering three million people right? The cloud and the fire was like everybody could see it, they just had to look up. But now it's still the same presence of God, still the same command of God, still the same promises of God, what it's going to look different and it's going to manifest the work of God in their lives differently. I would encourage you to consider that. Can you imagine that God changing his method of leading you After 40 years of leading you the same way God changing the way that he's leading you and speaking to you and working in your life After 40 years of the same thing, you know, the same process. one of the things that we always have to work for as christians is to resist the formula. You know, it can be such a great temptation to kind of like Dylan. Okay, so here's my devotional formula. Here's how I spend time with God. I do it this way, I do it every day. I do it for the last 40 years. But we have to be careful because that may be a great, you know, experience that you have in that. But we also have to expect that. Well God has the freedom God has the authority to come in and say I'm going to flip all that around and your devotional time. That was so strong in the morning. Now it's going to be really strong in the evening. No, no, no, this is against everything I've ever heard I've ever known. Like uh I don't know if I can hear from God in the evening, it's so hard and, and you know, or maybe it's more hate, it's been, you know, the spending time in the scriptures and I have this reading schedule, right, and got me want to change that up, you know, don't get crazy, I'm not saying like we throughout the scriptures or anything like that, right? The core essence of the presence of God and the work of God was the same for the Children of Israel, it'll be the same for us, there's going to be components in our walk with God of the word of prayer of things that God is saying to us lining up with what God has already established in his word, we can't veer off of the word, but at the same time we can't be so stuck in our routine and formula and think that it's always going to be this way, it has to be this way and expect God to always work in that same format in our lives, because here's the reality God wants to lead you into a deeper walk of faith. He wants to lead you into a new sense of trust in him, a new understanding of who he is that may require him changing some of the ways that he has worked in your life and so there are many times in our lives, different seasons where God is working different things in us, you can imagine the cloud overhead by day and the pillar of fire would be incredibly reassuring. It would be a great bolster to their faith. But now having something much less visible, something that is completely different, that the presence of God is still there, but they're going to have to really trust God and believe it, even when they can't see it and when they, even when they physically can't like look out the tent and see, yep, that's God's here, okay, we're good, we're right where God wants us to be, who I was a little bit nerve wracking. I got a little bit concerned, but there's the cloud. I know, you know, but now it's going to be a little bit more difficult, a little bit more challenging and God is not showing up the same way, he's not revealing himself in the same way and sometimes we go through what we might refer to as dry spells, right as believers, Where it's like, I don't know if I'm hearing God's voice and there's the seasons where it's just like every day, it's like bam bam bam. God showing me something, it's like the cloud by day, the fire by night. It's like, oh yeah, it's just my life is just filled with God speaking and then we'll head into a new season where God's going to do something different and he's going to deepen our faith, it's not that his presence has diminished, but he is revealing himself to us differently and allowing us to trust him even when we can't see everything that we would want to see or are used to see. God wants to lead you into a walk of deeper faith with him. And so maybe it's going from a season of really dramatic experiences with God to some less dramatic experiences with God, no less genuine, no less impactful, no less meaningful, no less important, but different, different visually different emotionally. Perhaps, maybe, you know, leading you from more visible to less visible, more tangible, to less tangible. And then don't be surprised when God flips it around because you know what happens, we go from kind of those experiences of like, wow, it's amazing. And then we kind of settled down into a, you know, okay, yeah, that's like a normal walk with God, you know, God speaks to me, but it's not so dramatic every day, but then sometimes we get stuck in that mode and it's just like a whole hum hum drum. I don't know the right phrase to use right there, but you get the point right, It's just like a boring christian life and sometimes we need to be shaken up and reminded God is exciting and doing wonderful things and doing powerful things and he can speak to us in radical ways and so we can't just settle into the one or the other and we can expect God to work in new ways to lead us in new ways and sometimes we get stuck in that. Well, God always speaks to me this way. God wants to do new things. He wants you to he wants to teach you to trust him more. And so he might change it up every couple months Or he might change it up every 40 years. It's up to him. What he knows is best for us. But this we can count on. There's going to be some new things that God wants to do. New ways. He wants to speak to us new ways. He wants to lead us to teach us to trust in him. We'll continue on. We're going to go on to verse four for the second point this this evening. And that is to pay close attention to God's leading. Pay close attention to God's leading. Look at verse four again, it says, yet there shall be a space between you and it About 2000 cubits by measure. Do not come near it. That you may know the way by which you must go for. You have not passed this way before. So here in the instruction to the Children of Israel about the ark of the covenant, the officers tell them, Okay, when you see the ark start to get carried and moved on by the priest and the Levite. That's your cue pack up your stuff and follow after because God's leading us onward. But there's some parameters here. There's some boundaries to set. You need to make sure there's a space between you and the ark of the covenant. Now, this space they describe as about 2000 Cubits, which is uh kind of a significant amount of space. But you can imagine and understand with a couple million people being in the congregation of Israel that there would be some space needed for the rest of the people to be able to see the priests carrying the ark of the covenant, right? If everybody was crowded around, then only the immediate circle of people could see the ark of the covenant, but with a distance, with a space in between, that would give the opportunity then for the whole congregation to be able to look ahead and see the ark of the covenant and the Lord leading them through that. It's interesting here in this verse, he says that you may know the way, which you must go. So the point is, you need to have this attention on this, focus on the ark, you need to give some space so that you can see where the Lord is leading you through the priest carrying the ark of the covenant because you're not going to know the way otherwise. Now sitting on the bank of the Jordan, you know, it might be easier to think what you're talking about the jordans right there. We just got to get to their side, like we'll just cross over the other side. Like what are you talking about? Well that might be true for the Jordan for where they were at, their going to cross directly over. But then beyond that there was so much more that God was going to lead them into and he points out here at the end of the verse, you have not passed this way before. And that makes me think their time in the wilderness. Can you imagine, you know, spending some time in 40 years in the same region of the wilderness Like Oh yeah, I remember going around this neighborhood right? Yeah, we make a left here and then we go up a little bit further and then yeah, we always camp period. We always camp here every time we're in the area, we always go to this place and and we we set camp here and and then from here we go on and and and they could have developed in their minds some kind of assumptions as they're rounding that corner again. Alright, God's taking us here and perhaps learn some of those patterns and jump to conclusions about things that God was saying or directions that God was leading them. They probably had some routines wandering around the wilderness and I don't know about you, but I like routines, but I like to just get settled into. I could do the same. I could eat the same food every day, same breakfast, same lunch, same dinner like duchess is easy for me. I love it. I wouldn't have any problem with it. Not everybody is like that. But oh man, Yeah, If I could have the same schedule, same food, you know, well maybe not same clothes in the sense of like the dirty ones, but if I had like, you know, all the same shirt, you know, maybe it changed up with a little bit color here and there, but like, yeah, I don't care. That's fine. Just yeah, easy. Give me a routine. I love routine. And again, that's one of the things that we have to watch out for in our christian walk that we don't just get settled into the routine and God says, look, you haven't gone this way before. Don't jump to conclusions about where I'm taking you, where I'm leading. You don't, don't like think that, you know, you need to look at the arc and make sure that you can see the arc so that you don't assume I'm taking you this way and start heading that direction without really paying attention to what I'm doing now. The attention that God is calling for is pretty significant because again, there was this space. God says, I need some space. Don't crowd me give me some space. Pastor Damien Kyle says, this is God's way of saying follow me, But don't be pushy about it. Follow me, but don't be pushy and demanding and you know, all up on me like follow me and and and let me lead you where I want you to go. And so the space that God gave was 2000 cubits. Now Traditionally we understand our cubic to be about 18". So I started to wonder and try to picture what this would look like. 2000 Cubits works out to be about 1000 yards as we follow out that math and that measurement 1000 yards. So I'm thinking, okay, 1000 yards, what's 1000 yards? How do I understand? I'm not good at these kinds of things. So how do I understand 1000 yards? A football field is how many arts? 100. Right, so I'm like 10 football fields. I'm like I got to be exaggerating a football field in my head, there's no way it's 10 football field, links between the Children of Israel and the Ark. So I pulled up some nap tools, did some calculations and figure it out if you are at the corner here of Lincoln and railroad and you look down railroad towards Grand where you hit koda Is right about 1000 yards. So I was like looking, I was trying to see like can I see koda, it's kind of hard to see Koda. So I got in my car and actually drove there. Here's a picture from this afternoon in the middle of the street is very safe, don't worry about it uh looking standing at koda looking towards Lincoln in railroad, can you see Lincoln? If you look really closely give you a little arrow there there's a you can see the light at the intersection and if you can't see that well, well here's a little bit closer look, okay, that's 1000 yards from kota to Lincoln. And so you can see that it would require a lot of attention. And again, this is why I make the point pay close attention to God's leading. This isn't like, you know, a huge cloud by day and fire by night where it's like, yeah, no matter where you are, you can kind of see the cloud out of the corner of your eye, you never lose sight of it, right? So it's like I just kind of go about my day and then I always kind of no. In the back of my mind, the corner of my eye, I could see the Lord's leading. No problem. But this is like like squinting your eyes like looking like alright, yeah, that's that's the Yeah, yeah, that's Oh there he is. He's going that way now, okay, we've got to change course now he's going this direction and and and really paying attention to the direction to the leading to the steps in the course that God has set for them through the leading of the priest and the Levite is carrying the ark of the covenant. Now. Typically for me you'll hear me say often uh you know, things like being right in the center of God's will, and in my head when I see that I'm picturing the cloud overhead and just kind of like being right in the center of that cloud, right in the pillar of fire, it's like, just be right in the centre, right where God wants us to be right? And this picture here, now, there's the head into the promised land, it really is a different picture. It gives a little bit different perspective for us where God is saying, look, everything that I do in your life is not going to be so obvious all the time. You need to be really looking for me, really listening attentively to me, really, like squinting your heart and and and seeking to find out what my will is and what my plan is to understand how I'm leading, you pay close attention to God's leading. You know, there's times in my life, like, right now where it's like, I need God more than ever, and, and I'm like seeking the Lord, I'm like, squinting for that, that signal right? More than ever. I'm like, Lord, I need to hear you, I need to know what you're saying, I was sharing with kim. It feels like this is kind of like a really big step of faith, even though it's, you know, in the workplace, but even though I feel that way, even though that's what I'm experiencing the truth is I always need God the same amount, right? I just less aware of it at other times, I'm just less. And so the times where I'm just kind of going through my routine and you know, just all right, God's good, everything's great and I just not paying attention. Well, I'm less aware of my need, but I don't need God less in one season or the other season, the reality is I need to be paying close attention. I need to be looking what is it that God wants to say? What is it that God is doing? And where is he leading? And so the Children of Israel here would have to pay close attention to the things that God was doing in the way that God was leading them. I've always liked psalm chapter 32 where God says I will instruct you and teach you in the way that you should go. I will guide you with my I you know, it speaks really of that gentle guidance of the Lord, that it's like that this picture is the ark of the covenant kind of way far away. That's a very gentle guidance. Right? God is just saying, all right, follow me. And it's like a still small voice, right? You have the option, you have the opportunity, God wants to speak, but kind of like the parables, you know, the Lord taught through parables and the message was there the truth was there for those who wanted to receive it for those who are willing to look into it. But also if you weren't really seeking after the Lord, you would miss the point of the parable. And this is one of those things that we need to be aware of is that God sometimes wants to lead us in ways where we're trusting him in ways that he's speaking to us in a still small voice and we need to pay close attention and not just respond to the big obvious things that God is saying or speaking to us about. He goes on in some 32 to say don't be like the horse or the mule. You know, they're stubborn, you have to like draw them near and harness them with a bit and bridle and you know, otherwise you can't lead them. Like don't be like that. Don't don't just respond to the Lord from those kinds of things that he imposes on your life. But let God lead you with his I be very attentive be looking closely to him, be seeking him and asking him asking, seeking knocking that you might know what God is saying to you. Pay close attention to God's leading. And I like the picture here as it talks about that you'll know like keep a close eye so that you can know the direction, you can know the way. So you don't jump to a conclusion and go the wrong way based on what you first see. But the idea here is as you're going, you're continuing to look, you're continuing to pay attention. And I showed this a while back. But it's worth considering once again, that importance of us listening for God's direction. Even beyond that first instruction that Abraham when he was instructed by the Lord to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, he heard from the Lord. He had God's instruction. He set out to do it. He was taking a really big step of faith and trusting God in that. And if he had stopped paying close attention to God's leading, then he would have continued on and actually fulfilled the sacrifice. But the Lord spoke to him again because that first word was important. It was the word of the Lord. It was what Abraham needed. It was God leading him down that path. But then God wanted to speak to him again and say, okay, now change course. And God can always do that. He can always give us instruction and say that was the instruction you're on this path. Now change course and go this direction. And so we need to pay close attention to God's leading because we see him out there, he's moving and we can make some assumptions. We can jump to conclusions. God says no, no stay. Keep a close eye on me. Listen to what I'm saying, that you might follow me. You don't know where we're going. So don't think that you do. Don't jump to that conclusion, that you do wait for me. Let me show you where I'm leading you. We're moving on to verse five. We get the third point to consider tonight and that is prepare yourself for God's leading, prepare yourself for God's leading along with this, paying close attention and really seeking out what it is that God saying and tuning our ears to hear his voice, there is some preparation that is appropriate for us to be ready to receive the leading of the Lord Verse five says this Joshua said to the people sanctify yourselves for tomorrow. The Lord will do wonders among you, Joshua tells them sanctify yourself. Here you are on the border of the promised land at the bank of the river you're about to cross over and God's going to do a work tomorrow to bring us across to the other side to bring us into the promised land. And so since you know that to be true, since you know, God is leading you in this direction sanctify yourself and the word sanctify, we can kind of summarize it, it means to be set apart, but as always, there's kind of two important aspects to this idea of being sanctified or being holy, being set apart. On the one hand, you have being set apart from. But then you also have the idea and understanding in the word of being set apart for there's a from that we are separate from things, but then there's also a four, we are separate for things. This commentator puts it this way consecration means separate from sin, separate from the entire entanglements of life and separate to the Lord's mission and ready to go take the land. There's a separate from sin, a separate from being tied up and things that are not of the Lord but are being separate to the Lord's mission I have here in my hand, a new believers bible and we keep these, there's a little shelf right here underneath the pulpit. We keep these in here. They are sanctified. They're set apart, keeping them in here, provided any kids, you know, don't go crazy after service. It protects them from dirt, dust, grime abuse. Right? You look at the bibles that are on the back table and those are public, right? People grab them, they use them. There's pages torn out their dirty, there's chocolate spilled on them or coffee spilled on them. Like you know, they're, they're defiled in those kinds of ways. Still the scriptures, you can still use them, but you might want to hand sanitizer afterwards. But these up here. These are not for that. They're not for common use. They're not for public use, they're not here for just everybody to just, you know, read and pass it around. These have a specific purpose. And so they're separate from those defilement so that they can be separate for hey, you've just believed in jesus christ and received the Lord we have, it's called a new believers bible. It's just for you, look, it's nice and clean, it's fresh and crisp. No one's ever used it before and you get to experience your relationship with God as you dive into the scriptures for the first time, it's separate from, but it's separate from so that it can be preserved for that specific use and that's what it's for. Now, all of that, you know, illustrates the point, but also just to add on the little point. So if you ever need a new believers bible, uh, and it's for the purpose I'm describing here, that's what it's separated for. That's what it's for, right? So you have that need, you have someone who's a new believer and needs a bible uh then that's what these are for come and get them. You need a bible because you forgot yours at home. These are off limits. Do not come and get this. Use the back table ones just hand sanitizer. That's all that's all you gotta do, sanctify yourself, Joshua says set apart yourself, set yourself apart from the things that defile. You set yourself apart from sin, but also with the understanding that it's not just to stop doing things, It's make yourself available and be ready for whatever it is that God wants to do next. It's a preparing yourself that I'm not entangled in things so that I'm free. I'm ready for the Lord's purposes wherever he leads. However, you know, he wants to use me whatever he reveals, I'm ready to go. It's a readiness for service as well as a separation from sin. The author of Hebrews tells us in Hebrews Chapter 12. You probably already thought this versus I was talking through these things since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses. Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us and let us run with endurance. The race that is set before us. There needs to be the laying aside separating from in order that we can be separated for the race that is set before us. So Joshua tells the people guys, we're on the border here. There's some exciting things ahead. God's going to do wonders amongst us sanctify yourself. Is there any sin going on in your life? Is there any sin in the camp? Is there anything that you know, God does not want you to be involved in? But but there you are engaged in it. You need to leave that aside. Now is the time to put away sin not to be living in compromise, to be dabbling in things that are not of the Lord. And sometimes there's things that are not outright sins. But as the author of Hebrews says, he describes him as wheat. Maybe it's a liberty that you have in christ but at the same time, that Liberty does not help you in your relationship with God. It doesn't further your experience with God and your understanding of God and your connection to God. It's a weight. It holds you back in your walk with the Lord. And at different times in our lives, we experience different kinds of weights that kind of creep into our lifestyles and routines and Joshua says, sanctify yourself, encouraging us tonight. Listen, you want God to lead in this fresh new path that he has set before you. You want God to fulfill his promises in your life. You cannot expect to experience God's promises while your life is weighed down with sin and things that are not of the Lord. It doesn't make it Now, eh work of merit to earn God's blessing. But it does encourage us and remind us that we need to continue to keep ourselves in a place where we are ready to receive. Again, like the parables, like, there's just some things that if we're not ready to receive it, we won't receive it. We're not interested in the things of the Lord as demonstrated by our lifestyle of sin and the other things that weigh down our lives and keep us from walking with God and knowing God and connecting to God, then we will miss out those promises, those blessings, they'll pass right by us. We won't be able to run the race that is set before us because there's too much weight. There's too much things tripping us up and holding us back set aside li aside, sanctify yourself, Joshua says the author of Hebrews says that you're now in a position to receive the promises of God to receive the instruction of God and to run the race. That is set before you be set apart from those things be set apart. For Here's an exhortation from the Apostle Paul. In 2nd Timothy chapter two, He tells Timothy, No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. Soldiers don't get caught up in the communities, you know where they're at, they stay faithful to their commanding officer. That's the idea there they stay faithful to their mission so that they're ready. So when the commander gives an instruction of command, then the soldier is able to respond and go forward because he can't be like, well, you know what I I promised mary, I was going to help her, you know, go to the grocery store and you know, we're going over here doing this event, you know in the park over here with the community and you know, the soldier was on duty in the community and so he was to be about the business of his commanding officer in a similar way. We were on duty in this life, we're on duty to be at God's beck and call that he would be able to instruct us and lead us and that we wouldn't be so preoccupied with things and so caught up in things. So holding fast to things that we would not be willing to let go and God says, okay, you need to let that go where pick packing up camp and we're crossing over the Jordan, we're doing something brand new, prepare yourself for God's leading They aside the things that would hold you back that would tie you down. That would keep you from responding. Whatever God would say to you today. I think we have a great example with the res family pack up and head to Okinawa like that's a willingness to just let go of everything that's Tommy remember is like it's like jerry, you're gonna move into my house and you're gonna pass through my church and you want my car too and leave my close behind. You can dress like me and like, no, no, no, you take those things. I don't want those things there there's limits. But there was that willingness to just whatever. I just let it go. I just let it go and I'll do what God wants me to do. That's that's preparing yourself for God's leading, laying aside sin laying aside weights, laying aside the things that tie us down so that we're ready and able free to turn any direction to go any path to go anyway and do anything that God wants us to do. Well finally point #4 to finish up the night, prepare today for God's leading tomorrow and here we're camping out still in verse five, it says, And Joshua said to the people sanctify yourselves for tomorrow. The Lord will do wonders among you. And I wanted to stay here in verse five for a little bit longer with this thought because it is important for us to remember and understand that what were called to is a walk of Faith and it means that we are not going to see necessarily what it is that God is going to do what it is that God wants to do. He's not going to lay out the instruction for us all the time, but we are instead called to sanctify ourselves to go through that process that we've just been talking about in advance of seeing the work that God wants to do or understanding or knowing the work that God wants to do were to be preparing today for the things that God wants to do tomorrow. And so it's appropriate to ask, do you want God to lead you tomorrow? You might be thinking, well, you know, I don't know, I don't think I have any significant challenges tomorrow. So I think I think I'll be okay on my own tomorrow. I'm not a big deal. So yeah, maybe no need for you to prepare then if you're not interested in God leading you tomorrow. But do you want God to lead you tomorrow? Do you want God's influence in your life tomorrow. Do you want his instruction and his direction in your life? The time to prepare for that is not tomorrow. But today right now is the time to prepare for the future. Things that God wants to do. And there's a lot of times where we're kind of waiting to see if it's worth it, right? I want to wait to see what God's plan and see if it's worth it, See if I want to. Okay, okay, that yeah, that makes sense to me. Okay, so it's worth the sacrifice of laying aside the sin and the weights and okay, fine, I'll give up those things because you know, it's worth it. That's not faith seeing it and then deciding whether or not it's worth it. Faith is trusting God his word saying, look, I want to do good things in your life. Here's what I'm speaking to you here is the course that I've said and the things I'm leading you into. Trust me and respond right now, even when you can't see the promise clearly, you don't even necessarily know what the promises yet. But trust me, it's worth it or you know what the promises, but you can't see how you're going to get there from here. It just seems impossible. Trust me, I can get you there. Don't wait. And so in the context of this, you can think about the Children of Israel Joshua says, sanctify yourself, Get ready. And I would imagine some people myself in different seasons of life saying, I'm sure there'll be time. There's a lot of people here to get over the Jordan, like we can just, let's wait and see what happens. Something really going to happen with the jordans are really going to be a way to cross over. I don't know, it's like kind of looks skeptical. So you know, my tv shows on tonight, so I'm not gonna say to find myself the day before crossing the Jordan, I'm just gonna kick back and relax. I had a hard day at work and so I'm just gonna chill out here and not worry about saying to find myself. But if I see stuff happening tomorrow, then I'll get ready and Joshua here say no, no, don't do that. Don't wait until you see it happening to start to prepare yourself. Start now, prepare yourself now today for the things that you want God to do in your life tomorrow. The psalmist, in some chapter 95 gives us this kind of exhortation. It's a familiar, some in some parts come let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our maker, he's our God were the people of his pasture the sheep of his hand. But he goes on to say, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion at the end of her seven today. If you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. The idea is this. If you want to hear God's voice, then don't harden your heart right now respond. And God's messages sanctify yourself, prepare yourself. That that's what God is saying today. And if you want to hear God's voice, then respond to what God is saying right now today, don't harden your heart and say, I'm not sure I want to sing to sanctify myself. I'm not sure I want to do that now. Don't harden your heart and refuse and resist, respond right now to what God has already said to what God has already spoken. And you're preparing yourself today for God's leading tomorrow. The best time to prepare is now and so many times we find ourselves really in difficult trial in kind of great turmoil because we haven't prepared ourselves now. Sometimes great trouble in terms what happens, right? We always use job is the classic example. So it's not that, you know, everything is always easy when you're walking with the lawyer. That's not the point. But but you know, when you're not used to hearing God's voice in the midst of a trial to try to then learn how to hear God's voice. Boy, that's like the hardest time to learn because there's all this stuff raging around you and in your head because you're in the midst of this great pain and difficulty. No, no, it's much better for us if we will prepare and learn to hear the voice of God before the trial, right? If I show this again quick, red light, green light. What is it Lincoln and railroad? What's what's the light color? It's like like, you know like it's hard to see. I can't see it. And but if you would sit here and study this for a little bit, you know, if you were sitting there and watching the flow of traffic and you could, after a few minutes you would understand. Oh yeah, no, I could see the light screen. It's far away. But I can see I can see the movement. I can tell by the way things are happening. Even if I can't see the exact color of the light. I can I can understand because I've got some experience. Now I prepare myself in advance. But if all of a sudden you find yourself here and you have to decide your life is at stake. You know, pick the right red or green color. It's like that's so hard to do. It's like how do I even know I can't even find the spot. But if you prepare yourself in advance then you're ready. Then when the time comes. Then when the opportunity is there, then when the Lord is speaking and leading that, then you're tuned to his voice, you're ready. You're prepared. You let go of the things that are holding you back and you're free to just do anything that God wants you to do, prepare today for God's leaving tomorrow. I'll finish up with this quote from Pastor Warren rigsby. Some of God's promises are unconditional and all we have to do is believe them. While other promises require that we meet certain conditions and meeting these conditions were not earning God's blessings where making sure our hearts are ready for God's blessings. And that's the question our hearts ready for God's blessings. Are you ready to receive God's promises and all that he has for you? If you want to receive his promises, expect God to lead you in new ways, allow him to work outside your box and to minister to you to lead you in new experiences with him and new steps of faith in new ways of relating to him and hearing from him, pay close attention to his leading. Be looking for actively seeking out what is that you is are you going that way? What direction are you going in? And what is it that you are saying and doing? Pay close attention to that and prepare yourself when you know about sin. When you uncover sin in your life. Lay it aside when you realize things are beginning to weigh you down, lay it aside right now. Today, don't wait for around the corner tomorrow when uh the opportunity pops up that you weren't expecting. Now, today is the day of salvation. That's what Hebrews takes that passage that today passage from songs and applies it to To us in Chapter three and 4 of hebrews and says it's today. Like you gotta respond today is God speaking so that you're ready for those things that God will do in your life. God will lead you to receive his promises. Be prepared for that, be ready for that, be looking to him to work in your life. Let's pray. Let me thank you for your word and your great promises to us What your promise of being active and working and leading in our lives, Lord, what a great comfort and encouragement that is and Lord, that great comfort that they would have received in seeing the cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. We may not see that visibly Lord, but the reality is just as true. You're right here with us, you have good things ahead for us. And so God I pray that you would tune our hearts to yours that we would seek you Lord, that we would hear your voice, that we would experience all that you have for us as we respond to your guidance and direction, teach us Lord to do that, I pray lead us by your holy spirit in jesus name. Amen