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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 . . .

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
Saudi Arabia
Singapore
South Africa
Syria
Tunisia
United Arab Emirates
Yemen
(China)*
(India)*

 

These countries face "absolute water scarcity." They will not be able to meet water needs in the year 2025.

Category 2
(economic water scarcity)

Angola
Benin
Botswana
Burkina Faso
Burundi
Cameroon
Chad
Congo
Cote d'Ivoire
Ethiopia
Gabon
Ghana
Guinea-Bissau
Haiti
Lesotho
Liberia
Mozambique
Niger
Nigeria
Paraguay
Somalia
Sudan
Uganda
Zaire

 These countries face "economic water scarcity." They must more than double their efforts to extract water to meet 2025 water needs, but they will not have the financial resources available to develop these water supplies

Category 3                   Albania
Algeria
Australia
Belize
Bolivia
Brazil
Cambodia
Central African Republic
Chile
Colombia
El Salvador
Gambia
Guatemala
Guinea
Honduras
Indonesia
Kenya
Lebanon
Madagascar
Malaysia
Mali
Mauritania
Morocco
Myanmar
Namibia
Nepal
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Peru
Senegal
Tanzania
Turkey
Venezuela
Zambia
Zimbabwe                               

These countries have to increase water development between 25 and 100 percent to meet 2025 needs, but have more financial resources to do so.

Category 4 Argentina
Austria
Bangladesh
Belgium
Bulgaria
Canada
(China)*
Costa Rica
Cuba
Denmark
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Guyana
Hungary
(India)*
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Mexico
Netherlands
North Korea
Norway
Panama
Philippines
Poland
Portugal
Romania
South Korea
Spain
Sri Lanka
Surinam
Sweden
Switzerland
Thailand
UK
Uruguay
USA
Vietnam

Water, it's a miracle which God has created and which He has ordained to be part of His creation. It should be no surprise to us then that God also uses water as a spiritual symbol, as means of portraying equally vital yet unseen spiritual needs. ?Living water? Jesus called it, if you?ll receive it you?ll never thirst for life again. In the grip of His grace God has drawn us from a place of spiritual drought and death to a place of being made alive in Him. This is the reminder in the capstone verses of Joshua 24:14-18.

 

I.      The Grip of His Grace Reaches Beyond the River and Even Egypt.

 

If you?ll read through Joshua 24 you?ll hear him speak in the first person as though God were speaking from verse 2-13. It is a brief recounting of the way God gripped Israel and brought her to Himself. It is a picture of process, it begins with God's selection of Abraham, a descendent of Shem, a son of Noah, over-comers of the water that flooded the earth. Abraham heard the invitation of God to leave where he was and what he knew and to move across the great dividing river of the Euphrates . By faith Abraham trusted God and believed in what God was promising. From a place of unbelief Abraham came to faith in God and became the recipient of eternal promises. That was an historical event and yet it is such a picture of the way that God will invite us to follow after Him as well. Water in this case was like crossing a river that marked one territory from another. It meant moving from a place of unbelief to a place of faith and trust in God.

 

Water was also had a central role in the deliverance of the nation from Egypt , again emphasizing the passage of a people out of slavery through the actions of faith. It was in Egypt became a place where the nation grew in number but also grew in the intensity of its? captivity. As the degree of slavery increased their sense of direction as a nation was increasingly lost. Though they were already the people of God they needed to again move in faith and to be set free. This is such a picture of the way that God with a persevering grip of grace holds onto us and invites us to freedom from that which enslaves us. Sometimes we feel as though we are losing a sense of God's direction for life. Maybe it's time to stand back and see what it is that holds us captive. It would seem that the nature of anything which enslaves us is that it will seek to distort the identity of who we are and there will be a loss of direction that accompanies that.

 

From the deliverance out of Egypt to the ongoing steps of maturity in crossing the Jordan river, the grip of God's grace never lets go as He invites us to grow in an understanding of Who He is.

 

Grace, faith, grace, obedience, grace, that's the pattern of Joshua 24. It's laid out before the people and it forms the basis of a contract that Joshua presents to the people.

 

II.               Be Careful To Drink From The Good Well.

 

God's grace is extraordinary as He moves tremendous obstacles out of our path but what is also true is that we need to move in response to His grace.                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

This is what Joshua was calling the people to see. Was it reverse psychology that Joshua used in verses 19-23 or was it a straight up warning? Either way the caution is that if you try to drink from two cups at the same time you?ll definitely get wet and you?ll still be thirsty. You cannot say ?I will serve the Lord for He is my God? and yet still thirst after foreign gods like lust, greed, jealousy or bitterness. If you know that you are living your life on both sides of the fence how do you stop that and get things right with God? Consider the advice that Joshua holds out here:

 

1.     You owe it to yourself and to God to get honest with yourself. You owe it to yourself because you will be judged before a holy and just God according to your actions today. You owe your very life to God as the One Who loves you and seeks the highest purposes for your life. Choose now, get honest with yourself now. Whom will you serve?

2.     Having chosen, get rid of the garbage that is in your midst. Perhaps you've grown so familiar with the foreign gods that you hardly recognize their influence. You really feel that it is you that controls them, but in fact they are inside your thinking. Beware of that thing that so entices you because it makes you feel more alive as a result of it. Generally speaking, it is taking over the function that God alone would reserve for Himself in your life.

3.     Incline your heart to the Lord. In Joshua's day it meant to remember that God both delivers according to covenant and yet demands holiness and obedience lest His wrath be upon them. To incline their heart towards God was to fear the Lord as One who delivers them yet will also punish sin should they neglect Him. Today we know that we are united by faith to Christ and no longer serve the Law as a basis for justification. Christ having paid the demand of the Law for us sets us free from condemnation to serve Him. Incline you heart to this grace.

4.     Know that there is an eternal Witness to what you do. In verse 27, Joshua sets up a stone saying that it shall be like a guard, lest they ever deny their God. We have an eternal Witness in Christ, but He does not stand ready to accuse us of future failures, Christ ever lives to make intercession for us. When you commit before God to do away with that which is sin, Jesus, the Spirit of Jesus and even the body of Jesus Christ, the church, stands as a Witness with you.

  

And so the conclusion of the book of Joshua is that God's grip of grace upon us all brings us right to the edge of the well and bids us drink and in drinking the water of life... ever give thanks as you serve Him, from here on.

 

Rev. Spence Laycock pastors at Church of the Open Bible, Ponoka, Alberta, Canada.
www.churchoftheopenbible.ab.ca