Arise and Go!
I love January. It is such a great time to seek the Lord for the “New Thing” He wants to do in my life. God provides us with an amazing picture of what it is like to step out into something new through what he does with Joshua when Moses had died after 40 years of leading the children of Israel in the wilderness and God is ready to take the second generation into the promised land.
Lets take a look:
Joshua 1 (NKJV)
God’s Commission to Joshua
1 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: 2 “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.
“Moses my servant is dead”. This is not new information for Joshua. He was totally aware that Moses was dead. God is not being insensitive but this was the time to draw Joshua’s attention to the fact that He was doing a new thing. In order to do that Joshua had to leave something behind. He could not cling to the memories of what was. If he clung to the dependency he had on Moses he would never move forward into what God wanted to do next. So God in His loving and caring way speaks to Joshua of the shift that is taking place. Things are changing and Joshua has to be aware of what God is doing now. If Joshua was not ready to leave somethings behind he would miss what God was going to do.
2019 is a new year but if we are not able to leave some old things behind we too may miss what God has for us now.
“Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.
Behold, or pay attention to this new thing! It is so easy to get comfortable, to get attached to what has been. But often times God needs to get our attention to move us into a new season. He always has new fresh things for us but sometimes our hands are so full there is no room for something new.
I am challenging myself and you to ask yourselves a couple of questions. First, what do we need to leave behind, to let go of in order to take hold of something new? Secondly do you sense a shift? A nudge toward something new? Are you pressing in to find what it is?
For some of us it may be a new mentality. It may be a new way of viewing ourselves which includes letting go of old lies we have clung to. It may be a new ministry, a new way of serving which takes us out of our comfort zone. A new thing can take many forms.
In my life 2019 is bringing a huge shift. God is having Dave and I closing some chapters in our lives I believe to open new ones. As I write I am surrounded by boxes and piles to move and give away as we clean out our second home of 15 years. It is a new season for me and each day I need to be listening to God for instructions because this is not a walk I have had in the past.
Like Joshua I no longer have my mentor to advise me. Its been hard not to lean on him for advice and prayer. I am have left behind a professional identity I have had for the last 22 years. The old way of doing things will not take me where God wants to lead me this year and it is taking faith to step out into new territory.
God knows this about us as He did with Joshua.
Joshua 1:5-9 (NKJV)
5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
First God tells Joshua to Arise! To get up and go where He is telling him to go. Once we hear the Lord’s direction it is crucial that we obey, that we act, that we Arise. God gives Joshua assurances to help him move out. He is bolstering him up, reminding him that He will be with him just as He was with Moses. He won’t leave him. Then he gives him crucial advice; Be Strong and of good courage! God knows the heart of man. He also gives him the same instruction I shared recently from Psalm 1; to meditate on the word day and night and adds, don’t let it depart from your mouth! If you and I remember that what God has done for those who have gone before us , what He will do for us and if we keep his word coming in all the time and we speak it out there will be great success. A simple formula. Don’t get stuck in the past. Know that God has something new. Remember the memorial stones behind us and keep the word in front of us and coming out of our mouths.
I love that the Lord knows us so well. After all the encouragement and instruction He reiterates to Joshua that he needs to be strong and of good courage. He knows that the road ahead will have its challenges in this new promised land. There will be battles to fight and enemies to overcome. So he admonishes him not to be afraid or discouraged. To remember that where ever He leads He will be with him. Sometimes we need to hear that more than once before we step out into something new. I know I do.
The promise in Isaiah as in Joshua is similar. God will make a way. He will provide a road in the wilderness. A way out. A way to something new. He will guide and direct our steps. He will bring waters to our dry places. Rivers will spring up and will appear supernaturally to quench our thirst, to provide our refreshment and to revive us.
This is such an exciting season. I hope you will spend some time asking the Lord what the New Thing is that he has for you. That you think about what you need to leave behind and that like Joshua you Arise with strength and great courage and go out and possess the new land He has for you.