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Rev. Spence Laycock

In the early 1400's Spain controlled both sides of the narrowest part of the Strait of Gibraltar , where the two land masses of Africa and Europe almost meet. The two large and rocky land points on either side of the strait were called the ? Pillars of Hercules ? and it was here that a marker was set up. It carried a three word Latin saying chiseled into stone: NE PLUS ULTRA, meaning, ?No More Beyond.? It referred to the belief that beyond the landfall of this rock marker as you looked westwards into the Atlantic , there was no more land ever. To venture out into the ocean was to invite disaster as you would eventually come to the edge and fall off. After Christopher Columbus's discovery of the reality of a new world beyond Spain , it transformed the way people thought and acted. Statues were cast that depicted a lion tearing the Latin word ?Ne? from the phrase. It was pressed into its currency as coins were struck with the simple Latin phrase, ?PLUS ULTRA?, or 'more Beyond.? Coins in circulation in Florida in 1796, still had that slogan!

Perhaps this is a good picture of how so many people are having their view of life revolutionized by the discovery of the reality of heaven and of hell. In much of today's world heaven is like the stereotype of a naive blonde, nice enough but not credible, and hell is like an obscene phone call, distasteful but able to be hung up on. Neither of these two has any real impact and the only reality left that is to be feared or sought after is the here and now. What would happen to my life if my sense of . . .

Water, it's an amazing thing. It makes up about 70% of our planet and about the same percentage in our bodies. It's needed for life, it cools us down, it cleans us, it prepares food and takes away waste, it causes seeds to become plants and sand to become soil. It exists in solid, liquid and gas form, it causes incalculable damage by flood and saves lives every hour, quenching fire. Even politically, water is of absolute strategic importance. Consider this table that shows how critical it is.

WATER SCARCITY IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
Country Groups (www.Futureharvest.org)

Category 1
(absolute water scarcity)

Afghanistan
Egypt
Iran
Iraq
Israel
Jordan
Kuwait
Libya
Oman
Pakistan
cont'd . . .

Joshua has just divided up the land to the twelve tribes, the people have rest from war, things look great and then comes Joshua chapter 22. This is about a five minute read, so you're going to want to read along to get the picture of where we are going. Let's Joshua 22.

I. Joshua's Caution ? Be Very Careful To Pursue God. It's significant that the words Joshua gives to the three parting tribes are not about politics or war, they are about worship. In essence he directs them to have a zeal for the glory of God that is guided by truth, love and service. 1. Truth ? follow the commandments and the law, literally the Mitzvah and the Torah. The former, the commandments or Mitzvah, refer to the broader statements of guidance, like the Ten Commandments. The Torah or law refers to the greater body of teaching such at that contained in Leviticus Numbers and Deuteronomy. ?Be very careful to observe?? is the caution and it is a caution to be zealous. Go after it, know it, keep it, if you will pursue God, this is your compass. Otherwise you will pursue everything.

2. Love ? the Hebrew word used here can have a very broad range of meaning that is to be determined by context. This context would define the word ?love? as, 'to breathe after or to desire deeply.? The man who sighs with love for the woman of his heart has a ?breathe after? kind of love. Joshua is saying that to . . .

Have you ever talked with a young couple who are engaged. They look forward to the date of their wedding with great joy and anticipation. The day draws nearer and nearer, as you talk with them they tell you about all the preparations that are going on, their eyes are on their wedding day. In a similar way, we have been talking about the promises God made to Israel for a land, a promise that had been a long time in coming. First promised to Abraham in 2100 B.C., then to his son Isaac, then to his son Jacob whose name was changed to Israel, they all waited for the land. Jacob, or Israel, had twelve sons and this promise of land was passed on to them. One of them, Joseph, secured the survival of all his family as he rose to power in Egypt. Then over 430 years passed and a man named Moses receives the promise of entering the land in around 1450B.C. Then around 1390B.C. the promise is finally realized, Joshua brings conquest to the land of Caanan. We have been following this story of Joshua for several months now and here we are at the ?wedding day? so to speak. It was a time of entering into the rest that this land symbolized, of no longer being slaves and wanderers. As Christians we know that every wedding, as wonderful as it is, is but a picture of something much greater, a picture of the uniting of mankind to Christ Jesus for all eternity. Every wedding in that sense is absolutely heavenly! In this mornings sermon we're going to watch the process of how the land was actually given to the people and then we?ll stand back and look at how this ?wedding? is but a picture of something so much greater. For starting point in scripture let's read Joshua 14:1-5.

I. The Division of the Land is Sourced in a Love Story.

It all goes back to a love story, a man named . . .

I imagine it was about dusk as the first ones made it back into camp, then within minutes the whole team had arrived. There was an air of excitement as the word spread that the twelve men had returned and were about to give their report of what they had seen and experienced. A crowd of thousands of men and women and children gathered, their leaders at the forefront. Then they began to share their report and the first impressions were that it was going to be very difficult. The land of Caanan was rich but it was also heavily fortified. Quickly, Caleb, who was one of the twelve who had just returned, moved to the front of the group and quieted the people down. ?We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it.? What happened next none expected. The other ten spies began to stir the people with absolutely negative conclusions. They said that they felt tiny like insects in comparison to the size of the giants who lived near Hebron . Feelings went from fear to hopelessness to rage. The whole thing turned into a mob scene in minutes, the people felt they had been betrayed by Moses. They began to shout, 'stone them, stone them.? A number of men moved forward to grab Moses, Joshua and Caleb. At exactly that instant a great brightness was present in the tent of meeting, everyone saw it, this was the glory of the Lord and it stopped the people in their tracks. Before the dawn had come God had pronounced a sentence upon the nation, for every day the spies had been in Caanan the people would spend a year in the desert, 40 days became 40 years. The entire population of adult men over 20 would never enter Caanan, instead their children would experience the profession of being shepherds and from this place they would eventually . . .

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