“For ye have not passed this way heretofore” (Josh. 3:4).
My Friends, back of the Israelites was the desert with its hunger and thirst,its restlessness and danger. In front of them was Canaan,
unknown and feared. The journey through the desert had been a
long, costly, and weary test, but this crossing into the promised
Land would be a more severe test. They were now going from
the known to the unknown, from forty years of simple life to the
complexities of strange cities and fierce and wicked foreign
peoples. Thus, Joshua said, “For ye have not passed this way
heretofore” (Josh. 3:4).
My Friends, As it was true of the Israelites, so it is true of mankind.We
“have not passed this way heretofore.” The most incredible
situations often confront us. This is the common experience of
every life. The unknown plays upon our destiny. Amid a changing
world, man is the greatest migrant. Peter wrote, “Dearly beloved,
I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly
lusts, which war against the soul” (1 Pet. 2:11).
My Friends, I now will pose some questions, for you to ponder, if I may?
What are some of the things we must, with God’s help, face and master?
1. We must master “self.” Socrates said, “Man, know
thyself,” but the process of self-knowledge is exceedingly
difficult. The Bible teaches us to examine ourselves. “Examine
yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you,
except ye be reprobates?” (2 Cor. 13:5).
My friends, Morally and Spiritually,how unwilling are many of us to know ourselves! We see defects in ourselves which we hope have not been seen by others; we see defects in others they have not seen in themselves. The realstudy of man is not the house he lives in, but man himself.
Between the cradle and the grave, there is enacted a mighty
drama by every living soul. We have never passed this way
before, and we shall never pass this way again. It is fair and
logical to ask not merely why we are called upon to make this
journey, but how can we make it with honor to ourselves and
After we, through a study of the Bible, learn our purpose for being
here, we see we are to be “the salt of the earth” (Mat. 5:14), and the “light of the world” (v. 6). As the Lord knew and always kept in mind His mission to save the lost (Mat. 1:21; Luke 19:10), we should be able with Him to say of our work and lives for Him, “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world” (John 18:37).
2. My friends, I'm sure you will agree, that the world is an unknown factor outside of self. How difficult to master it! The world is an arena where every man plays his little part. The world is composed of strange and mocking contrasts. It is very cruel to some,
offering them a stone instead of bread. To others, it is strewn with roses
which are often more dangerous than stones.
My friends, We are instructed to: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any
man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes,
and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And
the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the
will of God abideth for ever (1 John 2:15-17).
Thanks be unto God, we can overcome the world: “And this is the victory
that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).
3. My friends, as we all know,death is another unknown factor with which we are faced daily (Heb. 9:27). This path we must, but have not yet, trodden. We often think of death in an abstract and impersonal way as if it were something others might well meet while we ourselves are immune. Yet, the strongest are smitten daily, and death’s shadow falls upon all alike.
4. The future is unknown, and yet its grip is upon us all. The past is
behind us, and we read its records; the present is with us, and we are shapingits history, but the future is a riddle that no man can solve. Therefore, how grateful we should be that “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deut. 33:27).
God’s Word—Sufficient Light To Guide Us Home
Since we enter a new year, we need to seek the continued guidance of
our heavenly Father. We must ever keep in mind the great statement of
Jeremiah: “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23). We must heed the advice of the inspired James: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him”
My friends, as we contemplate the brevity of life and the significance of life’s opportunities, we pray, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Ps. 90:12).
With calm minds, courageous hearts, and contented spirits, let us go
forward my friends, to face the unknown experiences of life fully aware that we do not know the future, but we do know Him who holds the future! We need to have in our lives a great renewal, so that old duties may become fresh, and old affections ardent, and our good old aspirations filled with strength.
My friends, we need to grow in faith and love even this year to the end that at the conclusion of the year it can be said of us, as Paul beautifully complimented the Thessalonians, “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every
one of you all toward each other aboundeth” (2 Thess. 1:3).
A marvelous scriptural motto for us is: “Trust in the LORD with all
thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). In order to accomplish all of the above, we, as children of God, must come before our Father, bowed down with our unworthiness and an awareness of our sins.
Then, we need to comply with the Lord’s conditions of pardon for His children that we may be in a right relationship with Him. Precious to God’s faithful children are the great truths set out in these words,
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship
one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth
us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves,
and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and
just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all
unrighteousness (1 John 1:7-9).
My friends, remember always we can change directions, correct tendencies, obtain pardon from sins, but we can never retrace the steps already taken. It is, therefore, of the utmost importance that we add the Christian graces (2 Pet.1: 5-7).
“Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall” (2 Pet. 1:10).
For my friends, its been written, that "A Wise Man, will Increase in Learning and Knowledge, and its the Fool, who despises Knowledge and Wisdom"
Are You certain my friends, of your future?