1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 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.
~ Joshua 1:1-2
The children of Israel had been walking in the desert for a very long, long time. It was so long that one generation had died and another had taken their place. Records show that they spent 40 years in the wilderness!
How unbelievable is that!
Imagine for a moment the process of God. He carried them into a place that lacked the basic amenities. There was no water, no food, no permanent shelter. They could not stay one place beyond a limited time. Survival meant they had to move. They did not decide when they moved. God did.
Their survival also depended on absolute trust in God. Everything that was necessary for the journey was provided by Him. Before they left the harsh treatment in Egypt He provided jewelry and money for them. Food and other provisions could be purchased from some of the nations along the route.
Despite everything, there was one problem!
The nations did not want to trade with them. Word got around that they had rebelled and left Egypt. The ragtag tribe was feared. they had devastated a superpower nation and was now marching to an unknown destination. The neighboring nations feared them. They thought that they would invade them at any time and attempt to seize their land.
little did they know of the fears and anxieties the Israelites and foreigners carried with them. With the help of God, they had wrestled the promise of their future out of the hands of their slave masters. But that was not enough. The future was uncertain. They did not have what was necessary to meet all their needs. Every day they had to hope in the provisions of God.
He did what was necessary to assure them that He was with them. He had freed them from their enslavement. He was with them. He did signs and wonders every day in their midst. Not to brag or boast on Himself. It was to assure them that they had nothing to fear.
He was their guarantee of a certain future. A prosperous future. All He had promised would be fulfilled. Still they carried something something, in them, that kept them enslaved to the past. It kept them trapped. Years of slavery had broken their spirit, their will, their vision. The proud children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were now only frightened children. Stuck in the past. Weighed down by the excess baggage they carried in their heart.
Those who failed to heed the gentle nudging and sometimes forceful push of the Lord were removed. A new man now emerged. Represented by the next generation. God did not want any reminders of the failures of the past so He removed the head – Moses.
Moses was representative of the old paradigm. He was a progressive thinker. A visionary. A pioneer. Bold. A risk-taker. A competent leader. Powerful in the works of the Lord. Yet the old generation only saw him in the courts of Pharaoh. They remembered when he killed the Egyptian. Time and time again he proved his loyalty to them but they never trusted him. God had to replace the head for a new attitude to emerge.
The Old Man
Moses and the first generation of Israel collectively are a picture of the old man that we must leave behind, when we come to Christ.
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
~ Romans 6:6-8 (KJV)
As God deals with the enemy on our behalf we will experience great signs and wonders. It is part of the wooing process. The Lord will defend our cause against the enemy of our soul. We will shout and be emotional in the moment but it is not sufficient to move us forward steadily in victory.
The weight of the past must be left behind. Fear must be left behind. All failings must be left behind. The future with its uncertain destination must be grasped by faith. The land God promises can only be taken when we accept that we CAN because He is with us.
Recall the past but take only what is necessary for the future.
God instructed them to “get ready” to move. Getting ready meant letting go of the past. We only move forward when we do the same. We must release the past to embrace the future.
Both good and bad memories must be released. Some possessions must be left behind. Our load must be lightened. Relationships anchored in the past that bears no relevance on the future must be terminated. New alliances must be forged. New paths chosen. A willingness to endure the fight that arises with the change must be embraced.
We must leave all baggage behind.