They answered Joshua:
“Everything you commanded us, we’ll do.
Wherever you send us, we’ll go.
We obeyed Moses to the letter; we’ll also obey you—
we just pray that God, your God, will be with you as he was with Moses.
Anyone who questions what you say and refuses to obey whatever you command him will be put to death.
Joshua 1.16-18 | MSG
Then he said, “Go into the world. Go everywhere and announce the Message of God’s good news to one and all. Whoever believes and is baptized is saved; whoever refuses to believe is damned.
These are some of the signs that will accompany believers:
They will throw out demons in my name,
they will speak in new tongues,
they will take snakes in their hands,
they will drink poison and not be hurt,
they will lay hands on the sick and make them well.”
Then the Master Jesus, after briefing them, was taken up to heaven, and he sat down beside God in the place of honor. And the disciples went everywhere preaching, the Master working right with them, validating the Message with indisputable evidence. Mark 16.16-20 | MSG
It’s one of my all time favorite scenes from what many consider a so-so film – Unbreakable. David Dunn realizes he is, after all, not just an ordinary man. Calling his “mentor” Elijah, he asks what he should do. Elijah’s instruction:
“Go to a place where people are… you won’t have to wait very long.”
Go where people are. See what happens.
It’s a hard word, this word “Go.” Perhaps that’s why the apostles – who were supposed to be experts in “going” as the ultimate “go-ers” (after all, “apostle” essentially means “one who goes”!) – perhaps that’s why they were so reluctant to go anywhere. It was over a decade since Jesus told them to “go where the people are,” and they were still huddled in Jerusalem. Saul began his purge, sending local believers scattering over the horizon, impacting people as they went. But the 12 original “Go-ers” stayed behind in Jerusalem. They weren’t ready to go anywhere. At least not until a new Herod showed up on the scene and cut off the head of one of them. Then the go-ers got going.
That’s the time gap to insert, at least mentally, in Mark’s summary of the aftermath of Jesus’ ascension. Yes they went! But it took some doing for God to pry them out of Jerusalem at last.
Maybe this is one of those “We can do this the easy way or the hard way” moments. We can heap up preparations and stockpile promises, but when all is said and done when the starting gun fires it’s time to leap out of the blocks and go.
Or he may just have to pry us out.
The starting gun just fired.
It’s time to get going.
Go where the people are…you won’t have to wait very long.
What does it look like for you to “go where the people are”? Just where is it you need to get going, and what do you think he calling on you to do when you get there?
Living God, give me the grace today to go. Give me eyes to see You where I go, to see the people as I go, and the courage to be and do as you lead me there on that spot, at that moment. And as I go, come. Through Christ.
I won’t give up on you; I won’t leave you. Strength! Courage! You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors. Give it everything you have, heart and soul.
Make sure you carry out The Revelation that Moses commanded you, every bit of it. Don’t get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you’re going. And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed.
Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged.
God, your God, is with you every step you take.
Joshua 1.5-9 | MSG
They had stood on the brink of this future before – and they flinched. An entire generation flinched and then walked away. “The walls are too thick and the people are too small.” They weren’t the first ones to balk at the future opening up before them rather than walking into it. Nor were they the first ones to choose the security of the known quantities of the past (even if those known quantities involved oppression and forced labor) rather than risk the unknown quantities of future promises. No, the future isn’t for wimps.
The flinching of the prior generation poignantly echoed Boromir’s caution in Fellowship of the Ring:
One does not simply walk into Mordor. Its black gates are guarded by more than just orcs. There is evil there that does not sleep, and the Great Eye is ever watchful. It is a barren wasteland, riddled with fire and ash and dust, the very air you breathe is a poisonous fume. Not with ten thousand men could you do this. It is folly.
Yes, it is folly – and much safer to go back, or at the very least to settle for this side of the river. Which is why we often say “faith” is spelled R-I-S-K. It’s also why Joshua hears the repeated encouragement to be “strong and courageous.”
“Don’t be discouraged.”
“Don’t be timid.”
And it’s also why he was urged, not to make a careful study of The Art of War, but to maintain a solid, listening posture towards God’s written counsel. You have not been this way before, and you’re going to need more than your wits about you; you need Holy Writ inside you.
No. The future is not for wimps.
What are your deepest fears as you face the future? What is the key to surmounting these fears?
Living God, the future may not be for wimps, but you say ‘the meek shall inherit the earth.’ Remind me of this truth when fears of the unfolding future threaten to shut me down. Breathe fresh courge into the sails of my life. Through Jesus.