March 2018  
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Joshua 1: 1-6      “Glory Days: I Can’t; I’m Just a Bug”       1/7/2018

Rev. Jerry W. Krueger   Boardman UMC

Today we begin a series entitled “Glory Days,” which will lead us up to the start of the Lenten season on Ash Wednesday, on February 14th. This 6 week series focuses on Moses’s successor, Joshua. Leader of the Hebrews, and what it means to live out a Promised Land Life.  We hear in Joshua about his historical pedigree. (Read Joshua 1: 1-6 again.)Inheriting the land that I swore to your forefathers to give to them.

In our modern 21st century minds we may think, “is that land stealing?’ “Don’t the people living there have title and rights to the land? Isn’t possession 9/10’s of the law?”   In ancient times territory was fluid and who held that land was fluid as well.  Territories were not particularly well defined. , unless a river or mountain range created a natural boundary.

Some background is in order. In Exodus 23: 20- 26, preceding the book of Joshua, God identifies land for the Hebrews and sends an angel to prepare the way. It is the land described in Ex: 23: 23, “the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites, and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out.  Do not bow down before their gods or worship them. Worship the Lord your God.” In other scripture we find3 additional tribes included, Philistines, Girgashites and Moabites. None are Hebrew people.

Joshua is the chosen successor to Moses. Did Joshua  wonder why 40 years before, he and Caleb were the only two spies, of the 12 sent to Cannan, believing that they could take the land?

The Jebusites, Amorites, Hivites, Perrizites, and Canaanites were tribes that had fought the Hebrews for hundreds of years. They captured Hebrew towns and villages and enslaved the Hebrews with regularity.

The Amorites were the strongest tribe at the time God promises the land to the Hebrews.  As the Hebrews came into Canaan, they destroyed the houses of idol worship and human sacrifice. The mentioned tribes moved elsewhere after being defeated in battle. They wanted none of the Hebrew army, but often remained in close proximity to trade, and even intermarry, defying God’s edict of not marrying false god followers.

The tribes mentioned all practiced a culture of degradation for over 800 years. They practiced orgies in the cites and temples, and were dedicated to witchcraft and idolatry. Admonitions against such behavior abound in the Bible, because the culture around the Hebrews was subject to being corrupted through syncretism. Adopting religious practices of others previously foreign to your beliefs. Scholars typify these tribes as a “snake pit of child sacrifice and prostitution.” The tribes would enslave peoples, and the women would be impregnated, so they could perform human sacrifice on the newborn children.

These cultures were ruthlessly devoted to abusing the most vulnerable in society to manipulate their false gods for gain.

The migrant Hebrew’s were 2 million strong with no land, but by God’s fiat they are given the keys to Canaan. This is Israel’s inheritance. To go and to claim it for the One True God. Joshua 24:28 proclaims “Joshua let the people depart, each to his own inheritance.”  Ephesians 1:3 -5 spells out our inheritance as Christians. This Believer’s Blessing reads as such: Bless the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ! He has blessed us in Jesus Christ with every spiritual blessing that comes from heaven.” Has blessed, not will bless. God through Jesus Christ has given you entry and a place in the Promised Land of God.

Sometimes people don’t understand, or they underestimate what happens to us at our Justification moment, that moment of conversion.  Many view that moment of justifying grace as driving the old clunker car through the car wash and having it come out with a clean clunker, and sins washed away.

Reality is, when we accept Christ, we become new creations. We may go in with a clunker, but come out with a new car. God pulls the old out and ditches all the evil and rebellion, and puts in a fine tuned version of himself, Jesus Christ, in each of us.

Joshua reiterated to the Hebrews the struggle in Canaan was already won. We don’t fight for victory, we fight “from” victory.

When we are in the wilderness, we question and doubt our worthiness and salvation. But Promised Land people know we are loved by God, and serve God who does not give us the left overs of life. 

Jesus Christ was not controlled by despair or grudges. He lived with the knowledge that his life in eternity was assured, and too many Christians forget their heavenly reward is already assured. Victory is won.

Many Christians have an inheritance and don’t know it even exists. My son Michael called me last year telling me that my name was listed in the Dallas paper, as having money owed to me by the State of Texas. I followed up and found that when I lived on the Tex-Mex border from 1976 to 1981, I had a deposit for an apartment I hadn’t claimed, and with interest, close to $1,000 owed me.  My inheritance was there all along, it just took another to point it out to me.

We are each made for more than just wilderness wandering. God saved us from Egypt so we could live a new life in the Promised Land, with Jesus Christ. Moses, then Joshua, led the Hebrew people. God through Jesus Christ, leads us, and sets us free to live for him, to worship, to love and bestow love on His behalf.

The gift is already given but some don’t trust. They think the gift of Jesus Christ could be snatched away by a vengeful God.

God offered the Hebrew people the Promised Land 40 years prior to offering it to Joshua, but the people didn’t take God up on the offer. But Joshua, Joshua seized the day.

Life in the Promised Land with Christ is for you.  Too many people live a life in the wilderness proclaiming, “Woe is me. We are just grasshoppers in the enemy’s eyes. We are like little bugs.”  That is a wilderness mentality proclaiming, “I’m little, I’m weak, I don’t really matter.”

Promised Land people say, “I was weak, but now I’m getting stronger.”

Wilderness people say, “I’m a victim of my environment.”

Promised Land people say, “I’m a victor, despite everything.”

Wilderness people say, “Life is hard, I’ll never make it.”

God’s people say, “These ARE the Glory Days. God through Jesus Christ WILL get me through.”

Can you imagine if a generation of Christians lived out their inheritance? The lonely would find comfort in God, not in the arms of strangers. Couples would spend more time in prayer, rather than anger.   Adult children would consider it a blessing rather than a burden to care for aging parents.  A generation of Christians would vacate the wilderness. Ephesians 1: 19-20. “And what is the overwhelming greatness of God’s power that is working among us believers. This power is conferred by the energy of God’s powerful strength. 20 God’s power was at work in Christ when God raised him from the dead and sat him at God’s right side in the heavens.”

We have recently celebrated the birth of Christ, new life in the midst of the wilderness.  Christ’s resurrection power propels us to proclaim not “I can’t, O woe is me,” Instead we proclaim, “I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength. “ Philemon 4:13

People of God, if you feel as if you have been living in the wilderness, if life is a difficult struggle, hear these words of encouragement and admonition;

It’s time to leave the wilderness behind, to move into the Canaan land, the Promised Land of Jesus Christ, with His faithful followers.  It’s time to get ready to cross the Jordan River, and move to a life of promise, and live in the glory days with Jesus Christ as our victor, our Lord, our savior.

The battle has already been fought, the victory won, Christ invites you to live with Him as a people who inhabit the Promised Land.

In the holy name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.