The Wanderers, the story of God’s people brought out of Egypt followed by 40
years of wandering.
One of the most important things we’ve learned as we close this series is that God
wants a relationship with His people. He wants a relationship with me, with you!
He wants to connect with us. He wants to speak with you. Sometimes He’s
subtle. Sometimes He’s obvious.
And one of the most important ways God speaks to us…God speaks to you. Is
through His promises.
The purpose of this last text in our series is for you to understand God, not only
as being One who keeps His promises, but God who is diligent in making sure all
His promises are fulfilled, even when we work against Him.
The things that have resonated with me have been: God’s grace, God’s saving
power, God’s redemption, God’s forgiveness and God’s faithfulness.
After the Israelites were in captivity for 430 years the Lord used Moses to
lead the people out of Egypt.
The LORD delivered Israel from the hands of the Egyptians through
The crossing of the Red Sea.
The final point of deliverance was God’s powerful display of the
parting of the Red Sea.
We can trust the Lord when there seems to be no way.
Bitter water at the Waters of Marah and Elim.
After three days without water the people were at a point of
God was inviting the people to trust Him no matter their
The Israelites arrived at the Desert of Sin and they were hungry.
The Israelites were weeks away from their recent crossing of the Red
Sea and God’s providence of the water, yet they quickly forgot.
Even though their complaining, God came through again. His grace is
not dependent on our perfect behavior.
The Israelites arrived at Mount Sinai and God spoke the Ten
God desired a covenant relationship with His people.
Through this covenant, they would be His treasured possession of all
One loud-and-clear lesson from this series is that we tend to complain.
Our natural self has a bent towards grumbling. And although we grumble, God is
faithful. We can trust God for every area in our lives.
Is there anyone here today that agrees that sometimes your tendency is to
grumble when things are not going your way?
Maybe something is off in your family, or at work, or in a relationship, or there is
something that you want really badly and doesn’t seem as though God is
answering your request. You’re frustrated; You find yourself grumbling about it.
This series has reminded me of when I relocated here from Tampa after living
there for 12 years.
I accepted Jesus in Tampa.
I was actively serving Christ.
I had a good paying career job and a nice apartment.
I loved living in Tampa!
God moved in mysterious ways to make it absolutely clear to me that He
wanted me to move home to Elkton.
I moved home 23 years ago.
The first job I worked after returning home was on the Skyline Drive as a Room’s
I learned quickly that if a housekeeper didn’t report to work then I
was going to clean rooms for the day. It was a hard job.
I remember sitting down on a bed, in one of the rooms that I was
cleaning, crying, and asking God “Why did you move me back to the
I had a bad attitude! I wanted to go back to Tampa, to my friends,
good paying job and nice apartment.
I couldn’t see God’s plan for my life, so I grumbled. I doubted His call
to move home. How long would it be before I saw God’s promises
come to pass for me?
Not until I surrendered to God’s will, that I didn’t understand, did I
Immediately upon accepting God’s will, I landed a job at a local bank
as a manager.
Our last area of focus is God’s people FINALLY entering the promised land.
But there was never any doubt.
We can trust the LORD today and for all of our tomorrows. Once the Promised
Land was promised by God to the Israelites, it was theirs.
Today, I am sharing from Joshua Chapters 1-4. In the interest of time, I will not
read the full text. Please make time to read these chapters in their entirety.
The context of today’s message is that Moses has died.
The people are grieving Moses death.
The Israelites wandered for 40 years in the wilderness because they had
refused to obey God.
The disobedient generation wandered until they had all died.
Moses was a great leader and he was a servant of God.
Moses had been mentoring Joshua who was a young man born as a slave
while the Israelites were in Egypt.
Last week we learned that Moses had sent 12 spies into the Promised Land.
There were two different reports. 10 said “the people are giants and
we are as grasshoppers”.
Joshua and Caleb gave the minority report to cross over to the
Promised Land, “it is good”.
Joshua knew what was waiting for the people in the Promised Land. Joshua
trusted God’s promise.
Today the Israelites are on the edge of the Promised Land for the second time.
Let us pray for God’s blessings over the reading of His word and this message.
Joshua Chapter 1: 1-9
1 After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of
Nun, Moses’ aide: 2
“Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these
people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to
them—to the Israelites. 5 …As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never
leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead
these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses
gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful
wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it
day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you
will be prosperous and successful. 9Have I not commanded you? Be strong and
courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will
be with you wherever you go.”
Here we have God speaking to His people in the language of a Promise.
“Get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give
They were going to face enemies who were big and strong and they would
Often we face tough situations, difficult people and temptations. God
promises that He will never leave us.
A heart that trusts God’s promises sees adversity as opportunities for God
to work. The more adversity, the more opportunity.
God’s word tells us to:
- Be strong and courageous. The scripture repeats this three times. The
repeating of the scripture is like using an exclamation point.
- Constantly read and study the Bible.
- Obey God’s Word. The only way you know how to obey it is to know what
it says. Blessed is the man who walks in the LORD.
The land of wandering is the wilderness. Crossing over to the Promised Land is
moving into the things of God, the place of maturity for the believer.
Joshua Chapter 2 verse 1
2 Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. “Go, look over the
land,” he said, “especially Jericho.” So they went and entered the house of a
prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.
2 The king of Jericho was told, “Look,
some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.”
So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: “Bring out the men who came
to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole
land.” 4 But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. 8 Before the
spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof 9 and said to them, “I know
that the LORD has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us,
so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10We have
heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea[a]
for you when you came
out of Egypt… 12 “Now then, please swear to me by the LORD that you will show
kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. 14 “Our lives for
Rahab is found in the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
No matter what kind of past we have had, or insignificant we may seem to
others, God will use simple faith.
Rahab trusted God. She may not have known Him well, but she knew that
He was the perfect promise keeper.
Rahab didn’t let her past prevent her from the new role God had for her.
She could have said, “Who am I? I’m the lowest of the low…” But she
didn’t. She had the courage it took to believe God’s promise.
Joshua Chapter 3
Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do
amazing things among you.”
The Israelites were to perform a purification process. That’s what that word
“consecrate” refers to.
The consecration or purification ceremony pictured the importance of
approaching God with a pure heart.
Like the Israelites, we need God’s forgiveness for our sins before we
Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of
the people.” So they took it up and went ahead of them.
8 Tell the priests who
carry the ark of the covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters,
go and stand in the river.’”
Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen
to the words of the LORD your God. 10 This is how you will know that the living
God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites,
Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. 11
See, the ark of the
covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. 12Now
then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 13 And as
soon as the priests who carry the ark of the LORD—the Lord of all the earth—set
foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in
Joshua had witnessed God’s promises fulfilled many times in the past.
Joshua trusted God’s promise.
When God spoke, Joshua, for one, knew God was trustworthy.
We have all had promises made to us. We live in a time that we are more familiar
with promise makers than promise keepers.
We live in a time when people treat their words lightly.
People are good at making promises but they don’t really care if they break
It’s sad. And, even more sadly because people so often break their
promises, there are those who wonder if God breaks His promises. Why
should we trust God?
Several examples of broken promises:
Sometimes in the heat of a moment we make a promise and we really didn’t
- Sometimes we say we are going to do something and we never show up.
- As a manager and as a co-worker, I have experienced jobs where I worked
with individuals who promised to arrive to work on time, only to constantly
arrive to work late.
Do you know anyone that promises to arrive on time?
Spouses this is not the time to hunch your honey, wait until you get
- Everyone is aware of New Year’s resolutions to get back in shape, to eat
healthier, or simply make time to have more fun and we fail to follow
through to achieve these goals.
- Here’s a broken promise that I can still remember at 60 years old…
When I was child, we use to raise German shepherd dogs.
As the dog grows, their ears begin to naturally stand straight up.
I remember as a little girl, probably around 4 years old, taking a
clothes pin and pinning their ears together so they would stand
They were puppies and I thought they looked pretty with their ears
Over and over, I would promise mom that I would stop doing that.
A broken promise hurts. Think of the time when someone has made a promise to
you and then let you down.
What we can learn from Joshua:
Focus on God’s power to fulfil His promises and not on the circumstances.
Joshua knew that God was willing and able to keep every promise to the
That as soon as the priests who were to carry the Art of the Covenant (which was
the Old Testament symbol of God’s presence)
set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream would stop instantly.
The Bible tells us:
That the Jordan was at flood stage during the harvest season.
God backed the water up like a wall about 20 miles north upstream to the
town of Adam.
The people shouldn’t have been surprised, of course, since it’s not the first
time he parted waters for them.
To the people, the river seemed like an insurmountable obstacle.
But to God, it represented a decisive turning point.
But the priests obeyed God.
God worked a miracle in response to the people’s faith.
Often God provides no solution until we trust Him and move ahead with
what we know we should do.
The solution sometimes only comes with our first step.
Joshua Chapter 4
4 When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the LORD said to
“Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, 3 and
tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right
where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down
at the place where you stay tonight.”
6…in the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7
them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the
LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These
stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”
The Israelites had witnessed the miracle of the Red Sea and now the Jordan.
God did not want them to plunge ahead without focusing on Him first.
As we move about our busy days, always set aside quiet moments,
times to build your own memorial to God’s power. Time to hear Him
Remember what He has done for you and recognize the blessings of today.
Be diligent about remembering.
There are times that we are very much like the wanderers.
Over the last several weeks we have heard repeatedly that the Israelites
grumbled when things did not go their way. They said “We want to go back to
But what if they had?
Imagine all they would have lost.
All of us, at times, fight discouragement over situations and circumstances that
we face. God is greater than the highs and the lows! It is a daily choice to trust
God. He will keep His promise to you.
We must choose to trust God in every area of our lives. God is bigger than the
problem and He will go for us.
He speaks. He speaks often. And He often speaks through promises you can
Psalm 145:13 says, “The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all
He has made.”
This message requires a ‘response of action’. Remember, the priests obeyed God
by walking into the Jordan when it was flooding. Often God provides no solution
until we trust Him and move ahead with what we know we should do.
God desires movement today. Will you rise up, submitting yourself to the
sovereignty and guidance of God the Father and choose to trust Jesus in all
Although you have experienced doubt, fear, and anxiety and there have even
been times that you have worked against God, you choose:
- Not to grumble.
- To trust God to answer, to provide, and to work in the relationship that
needs healing. You choose to trust God with the problem.
- By faith, you believe that God is diligent in making sure all His promises are
Trust God. He is a promise keeper. Today say “Even though I can’t see that He
is working, I choose to trust God that He is working good for me.”