Lesson Thirty Seven
THE PROMISED LAND AT LAST
We dropped my youngest daughter at the university for her Junior year of college. Most of the summer she repeatedly told us she did not want to return to campus, but we encouraged her that it was going to be her best year yet. When we left, however, it was a tearful goodbye and a challenge to continue driving leaving her 500 miles away from home.
The school year, only 48 hours old, wasn’t going well.
Always a child with natural intuition, but lacking the words to articulate her deeper feelings, she was right. The school year, only 48 hours old, wasn’t going well. There were a number of tearful conversations until we finally said, “You can leave, but only to go to another college. You have two days to make up your mind.” While that sounds harsh it was the truth—other colleges were beginning and the more she delayed, the farther behind she would get. Completely torn in what to do, my next words to her were: “Sometimes you just have to put your foot in the water.”
The reference, of course, was to our lesson this week. Go back and read Joshua 1:2. Note that God does not tell Joshua how he’s supposed to get a nation of some two million people across the Jordan at flood stage. He just tells him to do it. Joshua doesn’t hesitate. He prepares the people, and they walk toward the Jordan. There is no plan other than to follow the Ark (God). Imagine what the priests are thinking as they walk closer and closer to the Jordan. The first priest’s toe touches the water—and suddenly it stops flowing. God prepared a way. They only had to follow Him.
God prepared a way. They only had to follow Him.
While the people crossed, another instruction was given. A man from each tribe was to take a stone from the middle of the river to the other side. These 12 stones were stacked one on the other to serve as a reminder. When they passed by these stones and their children asked what they meant, it would serve as a prompt to tell them all God had done in the past, as well as a reminder that He would lead in the future.
My daughter has a “stone” in her collection marked Junior year. She stepped out in faith, changed colleges, and for her, the “waters parted,” and everything fell into place. What stones do you have? Have you pulled out your collection recently and taken a look? Where did God show up for you? Where did you put your foot out in faith and see the waters part? If you haven’t looked recently, do it soon. Remind yourself and be renewed.
In our chapters this week, Moses dies. This venerable and faithful leader of Israel walks up the mountain alone. Moses is afforded a great privilege. God knew his desire to stay with his people and to see the Promised Land, and so God puts on one of the greatest “movies” rivaling anything man could produce. He allows Moses to see this great land of promise from one end of it to the other. He then shows the history of the Israelites through to the time of Jesus and to the end of the age with the Second Coming. I can imagine Moses’ heart thrilling with all he saw as well as great wells of sadness as he witness the failure of his people, including the killing of God’s Son. When it was done, Moses lays down and falls asleep awaiting the final trumpet call of his Savior.
Interestingly, the wait wasn’t long because Christ Himself came to call Moses from the grave. All that Moses witnessed for the future, he has been able to watch “livestream” from his place in the heavenly kingdom.
A wonderful statement is given in Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 481. After reading this, you may look at sunsets with a bit more meaning:
“Moses was dead, but his influence did not die with him. It was to live on, reproducing itself in the hearts of his people. The memory of that holy, unselfish life would long be cherished, with silent, persuasive power molding the lives even of those who had neglected his living words. As the glow of the descending sun lights up the mountain peaks long after the sun itself has sunk behind the hills, so the works of the pure, the holy, and the good shed light upon the world long after the actors themselves have passed away. Their works, their words, their example, will forever live. “The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.”
How can you live your life so that after you are gone, your life is like the lasting glow of a sunset?
Making it Real
Take the time to make a list of times when God was present in your life. It might be an answered prayer, an unexpected gift, a job offer, a marriage proposal, or any other number of things. These are your “stones.” Keep the list in a place where you can occasionally review them. Add to them as God leads. Use them as encouragers for when things may not be going well.
If you have children, talk about the “stones” in your life at family worship. Each evening, tell them a different story about when God “parted the waters” for you. Help them to understand that God is also leading in their lives. Ask them about what “stones” they have experienced. Start their collection today.
Respond & Share
Why do you think sometimes God wants us to take the first step of faith? Share with us in the comments below!
Merle Poirier writes from Silver Spring, Maryland, where she works as the operation manager for Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines as well as the designer for KidsView, a magazine for 8-12-year-olds. She enjoys spending time with her family including being the grandmother of two active little boys, who greatly enjoy Starting With Jesus.
Coming next week:
“BLESSINGS AND CURSES”