Joshua 5:1-15 “Let’s get the show on the road,” many of the Israelites must have been thinking after Joshua 4. However, “Not so fast,” is the Lord’s reply. The pause button remains pressed as there are some final — and critical — preparations that must be made before the conquest of the land can officially begin.
Joshua 4 So the journey across the Jordan is complete but there remains work to be done before the conquest of the land begins. The Lord knows the forgetfulness of His people and wants to help them install a “Never Forget The Jordan River Wonder” memorial before He continues to work Wonders. None of us can see into the future, but we can all look back into the past to see how God has worked to provide us with hope in the present and the future. What are those moments in your life’s past where you can see God’s wondrous hands at work?
Joshua 3 Armed with the knowledge that the inhabitants of the land are melting in fear, Israel is ready to enter the land. Now God says it’s time to go, but as they arrive at the Jordan they find themselves faced with a flooded river and a fortified city. Even IF they could cross the river, they will be left with no retreat – there will be no turning back! It seems to be a case of ‘wrong place, wrong time’ but God has said go…
Joshua 2:1-24 We have spent the first two weeks of our series watching the Lord build up and prepare Joshua for his calling of leading the people into the Promised Land. If Joshua commits to following the Book of the Law, the Lord will be his companion in fulfilling his calling. But, who will be joining Joshua in entering the Promised Land? This week we will see an unlikely addition into those who get to follow Joshua into the Promised Land! This addition to God’s family is Good News for us all!
Joshua 1:6-9 Last week we saw the Lord promise to be present with Joshua as He was with Moses. We wrestled with questions like “where is ‘there’?” and wondered if that’s even the right question to be asking!? So, are we there yet? Come this Sunday as we continue to journey with Joshua!
Joshua 1:1-5 As a father of young children, this is a question I’ve grown accustomed to hearing. However, isn’t it also a question many adults wrestle with as well? Maybe we don’t ask it with regards to ETA’s on family vacations, but isn’t it easy to get stuck asking this question with regards to certain life phases? Maybe it’s awaiting news from a doctor, or a job situation, or your relational status. Whatever the case may be, when we find ourselves in seasons of uncertainty or transition, we tend to rely on arriving “there” to solve our unsettledness. On this first Sunday of the series, we will see God call on His newly appointed leader, Joshua, to lead the people into the Promised Land. But, we also see God make a promise to Joshua that is even more important than his calling as Israel’s new leader, and that is His Promised Presence.
Exodus 33:18-34:9 At the Burning Bush, Moses asked God, “What is your name?” He gave the enigmatic reply, “I am who I am,” which he then clarified as “He is.” In Hebrew this name is Yahweh, usually rendered in English as “The Lord.” At Mt. Sinai, Moses asks God, “Please show me your glory.” Instead, God proclaims to him his name, Yahweh, the Lord, giving a description that became confessional for Israel.
Exodus 33:1-17 When you imagine God’s face, what do you see? A friendly face or an angry face? David prayed, “Hide your face from my sins… Cast me not away from your presence (face)” (Ps 51:9, 11). Many of us fear it’s the other way around: God hides his face from us but keeps our sins ever before his face. Maybe that’s because we’ve superimposed someone else’s face onto God’s face. For Moses, the Lord’s face (or presence) was all-important. The Lord used to talk with him face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. Moses wanted that presence to go with the people of Israel, despite their great sin.
Exodus 32:15-35 Satisfied in Him Alone. Jealousy is usually a negative trait, describing inappropriate longings. But there’s one situation in which jealousy is appropriate: a marriage. Once a couple marry, their affections belong within the marriage. Transferring them outside the marriage should arouse jealousy. Israel transferred its affections to a golden calf, breaking the second commandment. God forbids making and bowing down to an image in the likeness of anything because he is a Jealous God. His name, even, is Jealous. God has won our affections and bound our soul fast. He wants us to be able to say of him: my love he owns, I have no longings for another, I’m satisfied in him alone.
Exodus 32:1-14 Maybe some of you have made New Year’s resolutions. You’ve embarked on the year with renewed resolve to be different, to be better, to try harder, to achieve some goal. But how long do such resolutions last? The Israelites were full of resolve when they entered into covenant with the Lord: “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” We return to Exodus to see how the Israelites are doing in their resolve. On top of Mt. Sinai Moses has been in the Lord’s Presence, receiving instructions for the people: “Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst.” We turn to the foot of the mountain where we find the people experiencing Absence not Presence. Their resolve to live a life of faith collapses and they demand something they can see. We all, like them, are prone to wander, and so we pray, “Bind my wandering heart to Thee.”
Stories and The Story The Bible contains many stories, some familiar, others unfamiliar. Our new art exhibit depicts many of these stories. The Bible as a whole tells a single story, into which these individual stories fit. Much of this overarching story is depicted in the window which was installed ten years ago. To start the new year we will consider God’s story and how it intersects our story.
PRELUDE: GOD Before God can come to his world and his people, there must be a world and a people. But before that there must be God; and so we begin at the very top of the window with God, represented by two symbols. On the left is the Alpha and Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. In the Old Testament God declared, “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god” (Isa 44:6 esv; cf. 48:12). In the New Testament Jesus applies the same language to himself: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Rev 22:13; cf. 1:8, 17; 21:6). Everything begins and ends with God, and so our thinking must begin and end with God, otherwise we’ll get everything wrong.