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November 1st, 2020

Joshua 3:7-17

Pastor Jenny Lee, Ph.D.

  “What Do you Carry in Your Mind?”


We have 24 hours in a day. We have seven days in a week and 365 days in a year. We have lots of time and days in our lives. During your life, what do you carry in your mind the most? Someone says, “Our minds may lead our lives in the future.” What do you think about that?

We learned about the Greatest Commandment last Sunday. It was also recorded in Deuteronomy of the Old Testament: “Hear, O Israel, The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might [mind]. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). Because it is significant for our life, God wants us to keep it in our hearts and recite it every moment, whether we are at home or out, whether we are going to bed or waking up. Furthermore, God wants us to teach them to our children. It simply says we have to carry God’s Word all the time in our minds and hearts.

Depending on what we carry in our minds, we can judge things differently even though we can look at the same thing. One day Moses sent twelve people to explore Canaan (Numbers 13:25-14:12). They explored Canaan for forty days together, but their reports were very different.  The ten people out of twelve said, “Let us go back to Egypt. We cannot attack those people. They are stronger than we are. We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes.” But two of them, Joshua and Caleb, said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it. If the Lord is pleased with us, he would lead us into the land. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” As they said, the two people who carried God’s Word in their hearts entered into the Canaan land with God’s guidance and protection, and the others, who were afraid of the people, died in the wilderness like grasshoppers as they mentioned. Be careful what you carry in your minds!

Today’s scripture shows us how people carry God’s Word visibly and how God led them. After Moses died, God was with Joshua. God said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, so that they may know that I will be with you as I was with Moses” (V.7). Joshua said to the priests to carry the Ark of the Covenant before the people. When they reached the Jordan River, Joshua said to the people about how God led them, and he said to the priests who carried God’s Ark to walk into Jordan River. The River “overflows all, its bank throughout the time of harvest” (v.15). However, Joshua proclaimed, “The Ark of the Covenant of the Lord of all the earth is going to pass before you into the Jordan” (v.11). “ When the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the Ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan flowing from above shall be cut off; they shall stand in a single heap”(v. 13).  So, they did not feel afraid of the water and started to walk into the Jordan River. As soon as the priests who carried God’s Ark stepped into the water with their feet, the water stopped flowing as Joshua proclaimed.

The Ark of Covenant contained God’s Ten Commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai (Deut. 10:1-5) and a jar of manna, reminding people of how God had taken care of them during the wilderness experience. The Ark symbolized the presence of the Lord with God’s people, and it was a sign that God was leading them. Therefore, they always carried the Ark of the Covenant wherever they moved on during their journey to the Promised Land, which means that they had a God-centered mind. How about you? What do you carry in your mind during your life journey? If you carry negative things in your mind, don’t let them stay in your mind anymore. If the negative things hurt you, don’t let them hurt you continually.

Sometimes you may carry doubt in your mind. When you prayed to God, you might be confident that God answered it, but God’s answer doesn’t always come true as soon as you expected. You might feel suspicious if God answered your prayers. Do not doubt God’s answer if you felt confident when you prayed. It sometimes takes time to come to your life. Do not be suspicious of God’s time. God may know well about when you need it. You may need time to prepare for it. With a confident and humble mind, wait for God’s answer to come.

David was anointed as the next king in Israelite when his age was 17. Do you know where he went after he was anointed? He went to the field again to feed sheep, not to the palace directly. He was chosen among his brothers and anointed as the next king. But he still fed sheep and delivered lunch to his brothers. Perhaps his brothers teased him, “Hey king, what are you doing here?”  Perhaps when his father asked him to deliver his brothers’ lunch, he might want to say, “Father, I am a king. I do not want to deliver lunch to my brothers anymore.” Or he might ask Samuel, “What’s going on? You said to me that I will be the next king and anointed me. So, when does it happen for me?” However, instead, he worked sincerely day by day as usual.

Meanwhile, one day he delivered his brothers’ lunch to the battlefield. David saw that all people were afraid of Goliath. He was taller about two times taller than the others were. However, David, who was 17 years old, was not afraid of him. All people carried swords and spears to the battle, but he carried God’s Word in his mind. David said, “You come against me with sword and spear, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty” (1 Samuel 17:45). Even though David won from the battle, he went back to the field to feed sheep again. He lived day by day, waiting for God’s time and carrying a God-centered mind all the time.

While we are crossing over in our life journey, we need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ, carrying a God-centered mind. While we are waiting for God’s time, sometimes we may lose connection with God. But, we may refresh our minds and renew our mindset. Imagine when your smartphone or computer is frozen for a while. What would you do with your smartphone or computer? You may want to turn it off and turn it on again. When it starts again, it makes us wait for restarting. Like that, if you think you lost connection with God, or if you feel doubt about God’s answer, stop right there. Do not go far from the point where you lost connection with God or from your doubting feeling. Just stop right there and read God’s Word or have time to meditate to carry God’s Word back to your mind. And then restart walking with God so God may show you about how God works for you.

Remember, when the people reached the Jordan River, the River still flowed over. However, they did not fear waters. They stood firmly into the water, carrying the Ark of God’s Covenant. As soon as they stood into the water with a single step, finally, the water stopped and dried out the ground until all people crossed over the River. That shows us how our ancestors lived in faith. Today is “All Saints Sunday.” Remember your beloved ones who crossed over this life’s journey before us. In remembrance of them, let us walk with God humbly and do justice. When we meet them again in the heavenly home, let us talk with them about how we crossed the wilderness of our life. Thanks be to God.