Roll Up Your Sleeves

Message:  Joshua 5 is a merge of endings and new beginnings. As the Israelites camped near the Jordan River after crossing over towards the promised land, they were ending their time in the wilderness. An entire generation before them had all died because of their disobedience and God was about to bring this new generation to fulfill his promise but they needed to be circumcised first. They were not going to be able to enter the promised land without first entering into a covenant relationship with God. As they began this covenant, another season also ended. They no longer needed manna since they were in the land of milk and honey and a new season began for them to work, gather and prepare crops. Everything was setting into place but they still also had a battle ahead to fight. As I read this I thought about the seasons in my own life. Some things are ending and some are beginning. I think we often view our promise as a time of relief from struggle, but like the Israelites, as the struggle ended new work began. I have often heard Christians refer to blessings as “harvest time” when we are praying for it to come. When we hear the word “harvest” we associate it with blessings coming in but anyone who has worked on a farm understands that a harvest means work…and lots of it! If we don’t understand this concept we will overlook the blessing right in front of us because we don’t recognize that the blessing comes out of some really hard work and often a hard fought battle. This is exactly where the Israelites were positioned. The previous generation had refused to go into the promised land because they had seen the giants in the land. They feared the fight even though they saw that the fruit of the land was also giant. God waited for that entire generation to die (with the exception of two men who saw beyond the fight to the blessing). God was now using these men to lead in the next generation. My challenge as I read this is to back up and look at the changes behind and ahead so that I can prepare my heart to roll  up my sleeves for some hard work.

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