Saturday, July 18, 2015

Change (Joshua’s Plan)

Change is inevitable. Winston Churchill said, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”1  We will obviously never obtain perfection this side of eternity but one thing we can all do is become better at changing. That is the whole purpose of a church is for people to change from what they are to become fully devoted followers of Christ. In reading Joshua, we see a formula for change. Joshua 1: 1-5 reads:

1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' assistant, 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. 5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. (ESV)


The first thing we need to do when we enter a time of change is to evaluate the current situation. For Joshua it was simple. Moses went up on the mountain and did not come down. Then God told Joshua you are in charge. For Joshua the evaluation of his situation was easy, he was the leader of a nation who just spent 40 years walking in circles.
For Joshua and for us when we come upon a time of change two different things can happen. It can either get better or worse. We need to seek God’s guidance as we evaluate where we are so we can get to where God is guiding us.


Leaders cannot lead unless someone is following them. For Joshua God told him in verse 2 to make sure the people are along for the ride. Vision casting is so essential for a leader during a time of change. Highlighting the issues with the current state is one way to cast vision.  This takes an enormous amount of prayer, time, and energy. Change without unity will often create division. The people of Israel are not different from people today. When change is about to happen they would rather go back into slavery than step out in faith. Today we would rather see our buildings crumble and our numbers shrink than have to take a step of faith and change.

Expect Challenges

Joshua 3:15 says mentions that the Jordan River that God told them to cross was at flood stage.  Change never happens when it is convenient and change will bring challenges. Oftentimes the challenges are overwhelming. Can you imagine the questions that Joshua had to field about his great plan? Whatever changes are about to come in your life the one thing you can expect is challenges. Prayerfully respond to questions and challenges in a way that honors God. It is also good to anticipate the challenges and questions before they come and share them in a way that honors God and casts vision for what the future holds. Optimism should come from the top down or negativity will certainly fill the void.

Go Where God’s Calling

God gave Joshua clear directions. That did not eliminate the gravity of what God was leading Joshua to do. It was not small task and included great peril. Every leader will lead through change. Change that originates from God’s promoting includes God’s blessing. Jonah is a great example of what happens when you go somewhere that God is not leading. So unless you want God to use you as bait on his next fishing trip follow his direction with courage, boldness, and the confidence that he is ultimately in control.

Give God the Credit

Change that is successful is very exciting. When we give God credit we are acknowledging how great and worthy of worship He is. I was once told that if we take credit for the good things, than we must also take credit for when it goes wrong. God is a God of change and he deserves the honor that goes along with who he is. The most successful believers I know are also the humblest people I know. When we give God the credit than we can also claim the promise that he claimed to Joshua, “Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.” (vs5)