Sunday, March 15, 2009

The day the manna stopped

Joshua 5:9 – 12

The day the manna stopped

What happens when God gives us what we want and what as been promised? It was God’s desire to form an new nation to preserve the knowledge of God and establish a historical and prophetic legacy for Jesus.

This is a picture of what happens when the manna stopped and the people had to “take the next step” and “grow up.”


I.         Circumstances change.


            A.        The new brought a physical shift.


                        1.         The people moved from the desert to a land of plenty.


                                    a.         Success is just as much a problem as poverty or failure.


                                    b.         The mind-set has to change to develop more success.


                        2.         The people had achieved the “Promised Land.”


                                    a.         What do you dream of after you have achieved your dream?


                                    b.         God had proved faithful and brought them to the Promised Land. How do you now depend on God?


            B.        The new brought a change in government.


                        1.         They moved from Moses control freak style to Joshua’s general style.


                                    a.         Moses sought God at every turn.


                                    b.         Joshua allowed the people to take their own responsibility.


                        2.         They moved from slaves to liberty.


                                    a.         Their parents had been slaves in Israel.


                                    b.         What would they do with their liberty. (Freedom is the ability to make your own choices. Liberty is having the choices to make.)


            C.        The new brought a change in standing.


                        1.         Gilgal means “to roll.”


                                    a.         Shame comes from slavery. God intended for Israel to control their own destiny.


                                    b.         The trouble with things that roll one way is they can roll back. We see Israel constantly in a cycle of sin, repentance, and restoration... not God’s ideal.


                        2.         Miraculous manna was needed to sustain Israel in the desert.


                                    a.         The nation was in its infancy, the people were forming the national identity.


                                    b.         Physical needs were necessary, and God provided both food and water. The food provision was called “manna” or “what is it.”


II.       Needs change.


            A.        Look at the list:


                        1.         The shame was gone. (This was how others viewed them.)


                        2.         The Passover was celebrated. (This was how God saw them.)


                        3.         They ate the produce of the land. (This was how they saw themselves.)


                        4.         The manna stopped. (It was no longer needed.)


            B.        Notice what happened:


                        1.         The absolute dependence on God for food was no longer necessary.


                                    a.         God had given them the resources to produce food for themselves.


                                    b.         Yet, they still needed to maintain the attitude of absolute dependence on God.


                        2.         They gained the responsibility for what they could control.


                                    a.         We call this being a teenager!


                                    b.         They moved from needing “unexpected mercy” to “ordinary grace.”

As a Christian matures there is less of a need of the “miraculous” because the presence of God is firm. There is steady growth that is deliberate regardless of circumstances.


            C.        Here’s the change:


                        1.         Before Christ Some things slow down“unrestrained indulgence.”


                                    a.         Conscious.


                                    b.         Circumstances.


                                    c.         Checks placed on us by others.


                        2.         After Christ we can have growth patterns. Sometimes they are similar.


                                    a.         Infancy is a time of not understanding but trusting.


                                    b.         Growth is critical because we can start to understand but then trusting becomes difficult.


                                    c.         Maturity comes as we learn to fulfill the function God has designed for us.


III.      Relationships change.


            A.        The new is not a revision or a rewrite.

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. [22] And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.” [Mark 2:21 – 22]


                        1.         The problem with a revision or rewrite is that it is still based on the old.


                                    a.         When growth occurs the two will conflict.


                                    b.         When growth occurs everything will be damaged.


                        2.         Christianity is not about self-improvement. It is complete transformation.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” [2 Corinthians 5:17]


                                    a.         The promise has become the reality.


                                    b.         At some point we move from learning to being. (We are always learning which means we are always becoming what God wants us to be.)


IV.      Requirements change.


            A.        Questions:


                        1.         What place will God have in your life?


                                    a.         The people for a whole generation had neglected the basic rituals. Notice, when neglect is repaired, blessing follows.


                                    b.         Ritual was a way to “sign the contract” and bind themselves to God.


                        2.         What will be your priorities?


                                    a.         As God moves us from the total dependancy of spiritual infancy to the responsibilities of maturity you lose the need for God?


                                    b.         Will you do the work necessary to produce a crop or will you revert back to being utterly helpless?


            B.        What needs to happen:


                        1.         Stop neglecting the things God requires.

“In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, [12] having been buried with him in baptism...” [Colossians 2:11– 12a]


                                    a.         Circumcision was the mark of Israel under the old covenant.


                                    b.         Putting off the sinful nature is the mark of the Christian under the new covenant. (The ritual to bind us to this is baptism.)


                        2.         Start doing the things God requires.


                                    a.         For Israel, that was the first time that generation celebrated Passover (they were not circumcised so they were excluded from participating in the Passover).


                                    b.         There are two words to describe what God requires of us:


                                                1.)       Repentance: “feel or express sincere regret or remorse.” [Oxford]


                                                2.)       Mortification: “subdue (urges) by self-denial or discipline.”

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