As we emerge from the summer months, we realize we remain in the wilderness with the Jordan River and the Land of Promise in view beyond. For a few moments of your time, I would like to draw a parallel.  

After 40 long and challenging years, the people of God began their final preparation to cross and enter. Remember, through their own choices and will, an entire generation had died in the wilderness. The remnant prepared to enter.  

How did they prepare for the challenges ahead? We are reminded in Joshua’s account that the Jordan River’s banks were overflowing due to the season of the year. This is the time God, through Joshua, chose to lead His people across. Humanly speaking, this was not the wisest of strategies. It would have been much wiser to wait until the river was at its lowest, not its highest. But, this is the God of the universe, the Creator who is orchestrating all the details of the narrative.  

Their first preparation was prayer. All along their journey, they had been praying to Jehovah. Worship had been a central part of their journey ever since their miraculous deliverance from Egypt. As a matter of record, God’s instructions to Moses upon leaving the land of slavery was to take the people to the foot of the mountain of God so that they could worship. Think of it. The first act after deliverance was worship.  

Worship is our first response as we move toward September. 

Secondly, they continued to tell their stories of God’s faithfulness throughout their Egyptian captivity. During the 40 years in the wilderness, a new generation was born. This generation was not a part of the Egyptian story therefore all they knew were the stories their parents and grandparents told them. This is referred to as oral tradition. This new generation did not experience the mighty hand of God out of Egypt. It was vastly important they be told of the faithfulness and love of God. They needed to hear how God could be trusted with all and in all circumstances. Their hearts needed to be kindled in light of the story of how God opened up the Red Sea and how the mighty army of Pharaoh was wiped out. This is the God they needed to hear about in light of the challenges they were about to face. They needed to know this God personally, not just through the experience and stories of those before them. 

Someone wrote, “Christianity is always one generation away from extinction.” We know God has stated His Word will never return to Him empty. We also know His Gospel will never be extinct, so what was this author saying? Simply, every generation must personally encounter Jesus for themselves and not rely or assume that because of a Christian upbringing they, too, are followers of Jesus.  

Today, we look both behind and ahead. We see where we have come from and who is responsible for our safe travel. We also look ahead, knowing the God of our past is the God of our present and the God who holds our future, given to us one day at a time.  

Soar,   Pastor Taylor