Crossing Over / Day 4

BIBLE READING

Joshua 1: 10-11

Joshua ordered the officers of the people: ‘Go through the camp and tell the people, “Get your provisions ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.”’

Joshua 6: 1-5

Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in.

Then the Lord said to Joshua, ‘See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March round the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Make seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march round the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, make the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.’

1 Corinthians 16: 8-9

I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.

REFLECTION

“Whenever God’s people endeavour to do God’s work in God’s way, it will not go unopposed.” (Alistair Begg)

God’s plan for his children was never that they would be a wilderness people, living in the desert and surviving on the bare minimum. However, after 40 years of existing there they had become used to manna and water for every meal, living in tents and worshipping in the tabernacle. There was a familiarity with it, life was fairly predictable, safe and secure.

It’s amazing how we sometimes get comfortable in uncomfortable situations. We settle for less than our potential in different areas of our lives. It could be our jobs, our relationships, our marriage, the use of our gifts. We stop stretching, lower our expectations, we don’t want to rock the boat, we avoid risk, we play it safe. Often the greatest enemy of the new is the known.  We settle in a wilderness when there’s a promised land with our name all over it.

God brought His people out of Egypt so that He could bring them into their inheritance – a land of abundance and blessing, a spacious and fruitful place, a land where they could flourish, multiply, plant, build, worship, grow, prosper and thrive. That’s the only place that they were to settle. But to enter this land there was going to be obstacles and opposition, a river to cross and battles to fight.

Often we think that if something is really God’s will it should be easy and straightforward. We expect open doors and little resistance. Occasionally that is the case, but what I have found more often is that when God opens a door, there are obstacles, and even opposition, both in front of it and on the other side when you walk through it. There is an enemy trying to keep you out of it. There are forces seeking to discourage you so that you stop short. As Seth Barnes says: “If God's dream is to see you free, then your enemy's goal is to keep you in bondage.” Take the following Biblical examples:

  • God opened the door for Joseph to lead a nation – but the doorway involved being sold as a slave and time in prison.
  • God opened the door for David to become King – but along with that came years living as a fugitive on the run from Saul.
  • God opened doors for the Apostle Paul to share the Gospel – but the journey involved shipwrecks, beatings and various afflictions.

Not every door that opens is from God and not every opposition, attack or resistance is a sign that you’re going the wrong direction. The bottom line is always this – what has God said? If you know for sure that you are stepping into God’s will then you can move forward in faith and confidence no matter what stands against you. He will go with you, He will fight for you, He will provide for your needs, He will take you into what He has promised. As Deuteronomy 31: 8 says:

"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."