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Posts Tagged ‘Joshua’


photo by Timothy Lunsford

 

Anyone who’s done a lot of long drives will tell you there’s that point where you’re so far out that you don’t know how you’ll get to your destination, but you’re too close to stop for the night.

I had just this experience recently when I was driving through Texas. I had misjudged the reality of the distance between where I was and where I was going. After way too much driving through two time zones, I realized I was too close to my destination to stop, but so far away I didn’t think I could make it.

To get where I needed to go, I started counting down the time in increments. First in 60-minute allotments, then as I drove and drove on the straight Interstate that was only broken up by the undulating hills and occasional curves, I lowered the increments to 30-minutes, then 15-minutes, and finally as I came closer to my destination I was counting them down in 10-minute increments, until finally I arrived.

I was numb when I finally got to my destination, but was never so happy to pull into a driveway in my life. Even I, who thinks nothing of driving 10 to 12 hour days, had gone way past what I thought I could do. And honestly, I went way past what I could comfortably do, but when you’re in that in between spot, too far away for comfort but too close to stop, what else can you do but keep going?

As I moved to put my truck, otherwise known as the blue beast, into park and set the brake, I realized that my hands were sore and stiff from gripping the steering wheel for so long. I had noticed as I was driving that I was holding the steering wheel more and more tightly as I drove, but I didn’t realize that I was actually clinging to it to the point that my hands were affected until I uncurled them from the wheel.

As I flexed them trying to get the blood flow back into the very tips of my fingers, I couldn’t help but think of the Apostle Paul and what he said so many times in his letters about finishing the race set before us as believers.

Whenever we set out to do anything, typically it’s not the very beginning of a thing that is so gut wrenchingly difficult for us. Fearful? Maybe. Challenging? Maybe. When we’re in the throes of starting something new, the definition of difficult usually means challenging to get off the ground, but we are so committed to it that there’s an excitement in working that hard to pull it off.

It’s when we are near the end of that thing that we have the hardest time pulling it together because by that time we’re physically and emotionally, not only exhausted, but spent. We have nothing left to give or put into it, but we still haven’t reached the end, and we know that we cannot quit, because if we do, everything has been for nothing. We’re at that point when we’ve gone so far we feel like we can’t make it, but we’re too close to stop.

There are many times in our lives as believers that we get to that point where we realize we can’t do it anymore but we still have to get to our destination. At that point we really only have two choices, either bail out and lose everything, or cling to God in a way we have never gripped onto Him before.

The funny thing is that it’s only in those white knuckled moments that seem to stretch on forever that we really comprehend, physically, emotionally and spiritually, that He’s the only One who can get us to the finish line. He’s the only one who can get us safely home.

“But you are to cling to the LORD your God, as you have done to this day.”

Joshua 23:8

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Image from troutdudesdiscipleblog.blogspot.com

Summer is coming up fast, just around the corner, and along with it all the thought and talk about vacations to get away from the everyday, the ordinary.

I’m always fascinated by the way that people take their vacations. Some go on cruises or to far off lands seeing the exotic and unfamiliar, while others prefer to stay closer to home, heading off to the mountains or the beach to get away from it all.

Camping is one of those close to home, but not anything like home, vacation experiences. Most people head to the forests where the rustle of trees and birds gives them a sense of relaxation and peace, but they can just as easily take a tent out to the beach and experience the sound of the waves on the seashore and the taste of salt on their lips.

Either way, camping is camping and for most purists the only way to camp is to do so in a tent. Not the most amazing experience for a newbie to the whole camping experience – think fish out of water in a huge way – but after some getting used to it, people don’t mind the tentness of it all and come to think of their tent as a home away from home.

And so it is. After you’ve wrestled with the pounding the pegs in the ground and securely attached the tent to its final resting spot, it does take on the characteristics of home. You cook there, sleep there, play there, relax there, and enjoy time with your family and friends there.

It becomes a place where you get to know other people in a more relaxed, less hassled environment. No phones, no computers, no television to distract you, just you and the people you like sitting around the campfire, and in the process, getting to know each other better.

But when Moses led the people out of Egypt, those tents were both their traveling homes, and for 40-years, a reminder of what they had given up, a land of their own that was promised to them by God.

Only two men were able to trade their tents for a permanent home in the Promised Land, and of those two only one led the people over the Jordan. That man? Joshua.

The funny thing about Joshua was that he and Moses were the only ones who entered the Tent of Meeting which was set up outside the gathering of the other tents. This Tent of Meeting was where Moses spoke to God and from the looks of things when everyone else was afraid to approach the Tent of Meeting and Moses came and went, Joshua would not leave the tent. The assumption is that he actually lived there.

Joshua lived in the presence of God. No wonder he made it to the Promised Land.

“Now Moses took a tent and set it up outside the camp, far away from the camp; he called it the tent of meeting. Anyone who wanted to consult the LORD would go to the tent of meeting that was outside the camp.  Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would stand up, each one at the door of his tent, and they would watch Moses until he entered the tent. When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and remain at the entrance to the tent, and [the LORD] would speak with Moses.  As all the people saw the pillar of cloud remaining at the entrance to the tent, they would stand up, then bow in worship, each one at the door of his tent. The LORD  spoke with Moses face to face, just as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his assistant, the young man Joshua son of Nun, would not leave the inside of the tent.”

Exodus 33:7-34:8 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

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