Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Faithful to his Promise- Part 4

Faithfulness is vital characteristic of God. It is also a key component in any deep and meaningful relationship. Knowing God’s presence is an essential part of His faithfulness.

The book of Joshua begins in a context where Israel knew that God had been with Moses. Moses’ face had literally shone with the glory of God when he came down from the presence of God on Mt. Sinai. Upon Moses’ death, Joshua knew God’s presence was critical to his leadership as well as to the success of God’s plan for Israel. Joshua was in danger of trying to take upon his own shoulders the responsibility that belonged to God. Joshua had already witnessed the people’s response to Moses. Joshua needed to know that God was with him.

We can feel like Joshua. We know difficulty both from the outside as well as the inside. It’s the inside battle that looms the largest. We know what we are not. We are aware of our weakness and feelings of inadequacy. Joshua also wrestled with the fear of being alone, of losing God (Joshua 1:5). He faced the fear of wondering if people would follow him after Moses’ great leadership (vv.5-9). Joshua faced the fear of failure and the tendency toward discouragement as he recognized his weaknesses (vv.6-9). We too know that we have opposition and we need to know that God is with us. God’s presence is what makes His people distinct. Without His presence who are we? Ephesians 2:22 proclaims we are the dwelling of His Spirit. We are a people of the Spirit and Jesus sent His Spirit to fill, empower and teach us and to make real God’s presence with us.

God reassured Joshua twice by telling Joshua that He would be with him (vv. 5,9). There are two things to note about God’s assurance. Firstly, God said, “as I was with Moses, so will I be with you, I will not fail you nor forsake you” (Josh. 1:5). The Hebrew word for “fail” here means to relax or lose focus, to become distracted or drawn away. God is saying to Joshua, “I am not slack. I do not relax where my children and promise are concerned. You are at the very center of My attention.

Another noteworthy thing about God’s faithfulness is discovered in the word forsake. It means to leave, lose, forsake or neglect. Many of us lose things, perhaps our keys, a checkbook, or a cell phone. Ever wish that like your head, which you might lose if it were not attached, you could somehow attach things to yourself? What God is saying is that you are attached to Him, bound to the heart of God by cords of love. God is telling Joshua, “I’m not going to let loose of you; I’ll not forsake you.” In good and bad times we are bound to Him. The writer of Hebrews reminds us of this when discussing our attitude towards material goods. “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money; being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you, nor forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5).

Slow down and consider the scope of God’s assurance being expressed here to Joshua and to us. God tells Joshua that He will be with him, “wherever you go” (v.9). We are a people of movement. Wherever your feet are and wherever you step, God is saying, “I’ll be there.” There has never been a time in your life that God wasn’t there. From the day you were formed in your mother’s womb to the first day of school, every moment God has been there.

Regardless of where you are at today, God is saying, “I’m not going to take My eyes off you. I’ve bound you to Myself and in every step of your life, I’ll be there.” This is why we will inherit the Lord’s promises to us. It’s not because of us, but rather it’s because of God.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Faithful to His Promise- Part 3

The value of a promise is directly contingent upon the integrity of the one who makes the promise. Time is not the issue, one’s own inadequacy is not the issue and lack of visible resources is not the issue. God and His promise is the issue.

God’s people are called to entrust themselves to Him. As God’s chosen people, Israel was born out of God’s promise. God told Abraham that he and his descendents would receive an inheritance. Now move forward and we find Joshua and Israel about to enter a promised land full of obstacles and resistance. Much time had transpired since God first gave the promise to Abraham.

Consider the whole process and time span of God’s promise to Abraham. Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, went to Egypt with his family, including Joseph, and they numbered about 70 people. As their numbers grew the Egyptians became afraid of them and enslaved them, however the more they afflicted them the more they multiplied and grew. The taskmasters made their work hard and they cried out to God. God’s promise seemed far away.

However, God sent them Moses and under God’s powerful hand, Moses did the impossible and brought them out of slavery. Under God’s direction Moses gave them their constitution, bylaws and culture. They became a people with identity and destiny. Yet the people were complainers, doubters, quitters and constantly fell into unbelief. Even Moses became discouraged! At one point, they even reach the promised land and having turned back in unbelief, spent 40 years in the wilderness. However, two men stood on the promise and said, “Let’s go up at once and possess it, for we are well able to overcome it!” (Numbers 13:30). How do you suppose Joshua and Caleb felt during the 40 years still waiting on the promise? They did not give up because they were convinced of who they were, a people of promise, and that God was a God faithful to His promise.

It’s vital to see the faithfulness of God in receiving His promise. Moses died but just because Moses died didn’t mean the plans of God were dead. God reminds Joshua that the promise is dependent upon the God who gave it. God’s promise is bound to His divine nature. Twice God reminds Joshua that He is the divine giver (Joshua 1:2-3).

A few years ago, Simon Pettit, who was one of our outstanding Newfrontiers leaders in Africa, died. One day Terry Virgo and John Lanferman will die. However the promise is not dead. It’s about who God is.

We are on a journey to lay hold of the promise of God to us. He is faithful to His promise to us. He will supply all that is necessary in order that we receive the inheritance.