Israel's long period of wanderings was ended. They were forty years making their way to the land God wanted to give them when it could have been a journey of but 11 days by the shortest route. For forty years they were outside of God's best for them. It had taken them two years to get to the place where they had sent out the 12 spies. They had spent another 38 years in wanderings in the desert due to their unbelief and disobedience.
But now they were making ready to follow Joshua's leadership and enter in. The former generation had refused to let God direct them. They had lost out, now a generation was alive, grown, and ready to enter into the Promised Land. God had not forsaken them over those years. God never fails, He fulfills that which He has promised; He completes that which He begins.
They were looking toward Jordan's stormy banks. They were encamped on the east aide, facing toward Jericho. However, before they could cross over and enter into the land that God had given them, some preparation was needed.
I. The Preparation For Physical Needs: v10-11
A. Joshua gave his first command to the people.
1. It was a command to make preparation.
2. Three days and they would cross over Jordan.
3. That isn't a lot of time to prepare for such an undertaking, but that is all the time they were given.
B. They were to prepare food supplies.
1. About 2-3 million people must be cared for while traveling.
2. All their livestock must be cared for while in route, before they settled again.
3. Much preparation was needed for this journey.
C. This was a command that had to be obeyed in faith.
1. Remember, the Jordan was in flood stage at this time…overflowing its banks.
2. There were no bridges…and no 'normal' means that would allow such a group to cross over at this time.
3. But God had commanded Joshua, and Joshua had commanded the nation to prepare for this unlikely scenario.
4. They had to believe (by faith) that God would make it possible before they would even begin to make preparation.
5. We can do all we can physically to prepare for what God will do in our lives and ministry, then we must wait upon God.
D. We need to prepare for our journey to victory as well.
1. Our preparation is spiritual, not physical.
2. We are responsible to feed our souls with good spiritual food.
3. Children must be spoon-fed, but as we mature, we feed ourselves.
4. 'I am just not being fed, Pastor' indicates that either that person is a 'babe in Christ' or they just don't understand their responsibility as a believer.
5. What was the charge to the Hebrew Christians?
Heb 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
II. The Preparation For Obedience: v12-15
A. Joshua's specific instruction to the Reubenites, Gaddites, and half the tribe of Manasseh.
1. The two and a half tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh had come to Moses before his death requesting their allotment on the east side of Jordan.
2. When Moses protested that they would bring the Lord's anger down on all the people if they should do this, they had promised to go before all the other tribes with their armed men and participate in the battles until the land was conquered.
3. Joshua reminded them to remember their commitment to fight for the possession of the land.
Nu 32:23 But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.
4. We must remember that God expects us to honor our commitments that we make.
Ec 5:5 Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.
B. Don't settle for second best.
1. God's best was on the other side of Jordan.
2. But some chose to settle for 2nd best.
3. That is true in our lives today.
4. God's best for the believer is to be victorious in their Christian life, but some settle for mediocrity.
III. The Preparation For Victory. v16-18
A. The people responded to Joshua's direction.
1. They were ready to follow his leadership.
2. That speaks of Joshua's character, and of the people's willingness to obey God.
3. God chooses to lead His people through men.
4. How the people respond to God's leader, speaks of their submission to God Himself.
B. Listen to their response. v16
Jos 1:16 And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go.
1. This is the response that God is looking for from each of us tonight.
2. We will do what you command and we will go where you direct.
3. Once we settle that, and give up on trying to argue or debate with God…then we can have victory!
4. But we will never see it if we continue to resist God's leadership in our lives!
5. The previous generation learned that the hard way…we can learn from the mistakes of others, we don't have to repeat them!
C. They reassured Joshua that they would follow his leadership.
1. This isn't blind obedience of a man.
2. They clarified their statement so that Joshua also understood their allegiance was to God's man…not just any man.
3. As long as Joshua had God's hand upon him, as Moses had, they would follow his leadership.
4. This wasn't insubordination; this just makes good sense!
5. Too often people are following a man, and then the man leads them astray. It happens all the time!
D. They agreed on the consequences for disobedience.
Jos 1:18 Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death: only be strong and of a good courage.
1. What an encouragement to Joshua.
2. What if God judged us after this manner today?
3. Talk about church discipline! This was pretty strong!
4. Aren't you thankful that we are under grace and not law?
5. This speaks of how strongly the people were committed to God and God's man.
Joshua was prepared now, the people were prepared now, and in three days they would enter into the land God had promised them. Victory requires some preparation. The same is true for us this evening. We must prepare to possess all that God has for us. Let's not be willing to settle for second best!