Do not turn to the right or the left




Nico Bosman

I greet everyone in the wonderful name of our Lord. We thank Him that we can be together like this. The Lord is good to us. Undeservedly good. The more you see what the Lord is doing, you cannot forget the man who started this work. We reap the benefits of his hard labour. Rev Stegen and the older coworkers, and we have everything we need. Once Rev Stegen said that one day when he was no longer here and the Lord blesses the work, that we should stay faithful. He said that the Lord would bless the work if we remained faithful.

Yesterday there were 150 people visiting us from all over SA to see the work - business men and women from all religions. We showed them around. It is amazing how people are touched just when they enter the gate. Before anything is said, they feel something. A lady said that when she entered the gates, it felt as if all her burdens rolled off. A man said that he planned to bring his family here. One person said, ‘I feel something here that I don’t feel at the place from where I come.’ God is still at work, and He is still with us. If you do not experience it, go for prayer that your eyes can be opened otherwise you will miss out on God’s blessings.

The story of Joshua is a wonderful one. He was the leader placed by God to lead the people over the Jordan river. Consider what God had promised them. 24 Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours. Your territory shall be from the wilderness to the Lebanon and from the River, the river Euphrates, to the western sea. 25 No one shall be able to stand against you. Deuteronomy 11:24,25 At the same time the Lord tells them what is required of them. They should be strong and courageous, obey the Lord, be faithful and then the Lord said He would be with them.

Read how the Lord led them and His miracles. Achan sinned, the Lord left them and they lost the battle. They delt with the issue and the Lord continued with them. What stands out is Joshua’s obedience and submission to God. It was because of his obedience that the whole nation walked with God.

After the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' assistant, “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:1-9

There is a way in which to serve God that meets His purpose. This way will give us inner peace. There is a way to serve God which is the right way. It is a way in which you know that He is with you. When you wake up, you cannot wait to see what God will do. You know you are in communion with God. There is a way to serve God so that you can thank Him for the day. It gives you peace. It satisfies. It gives you everything you need. It gives you joy. You know that you are doing what you should. There is a way to see things to see things the way God sees them. You see life and the things that happen from God’s perspective. You are committed to God; you submit to Him and you desire to walk with Him. It is a life of total dependence on God. Do you live such a life, or do you feel as if something is missing? You feel that something should be there, but it is not. Your life may not be one of peace. You are always at loggerheads with others. You are never sure whether to do this or that. There is a way to live in total obedience to God that brings peace to your soul. It must be like this. If it is not, there is something missing. To follow God with all our hearts is a life of perfection.

Joshua and Caleb were two men out of more than 1 million people who left Egypt who made it to promised land. It is true that it was not God’s will that all those who left Egypt did not enter but many should have entered but they did not because they had not lived as they should have. They did not do things in the way they should have. Joshua and Caleb lived with the people in the desert, they experienced everything the others did but they saw things differently.

12 men spied out the land - 10 saw it wrongly, 2 correctly. Why? There is a way to see things through God’s eyes that makes sense when you see it and you can accept it when it happens. When you have done what God has told you to, you can accept it. The Gospel should not be a gospel with a gun to your head. There is a story from WW II when the Germans advanced into Russian territory and they could not be stopped. The Russians were demoralized and gave in. Behind every Russian soldier they placed another soldier. The purpose of the second soldier was to kill his brother if he retreated. This changed the war for the Russians, and they began to advance. The gospel should not be like this. It should not be something that sits behind me and tells me what to do. You should want to do this. You experience something if you obey God. If it is not like this, you do not have such a life.

Joshua’s lived in obedience to God. He trusted Him, he kept His commandments and God gave miracles. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies. We hold grudges, we have sin, we miss that life. Even small things can prevent you from experiencing that life and you might miss out on the promised land of God.

The way of obedience is a life of the highest honour. Obedience is the glory of a human life— the glory which our Lord has given to his chosen, even his own glory. “He learned obedience.” He never struck out an original course, but he did always the things which pleased the Father. Be this our glory. Charles Spurgeon

…we are led, guided, directed; and we follow where our Lord has gone. To us who believe, he is honour.

Are we conscious that what we do must please God?

It must be an honour to say I am a Christian. If you say this, even others will honour you. I was driving recently with a person of another religion. I wondered whether I should pray or not. I said that I was a Christian so I asked him whether he would mind if I prayed before I drove. He said he would not because he also prayed to his god. Honour God and He will honour you for it.

To a soldier it is the greatest honour to have accomplished his sovereign’s command. He does not debase his manhood who subjects it to honourable command; nay, he is even exalted by obeying in the day of danger. Do you have such a life?

Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:7,8

Do whatever my servant Moses commanded you; not what I commanded you, but Moses. We know that the Lord spoke to Moses and he told Joshua what the Lord had told him. It is not wrong to refer to the servant of the Lord for example Rev Stegen. He taught us many things and we need to do them. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left… What we read must be a part of us day and night. so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. Carefully follow God’s instructions with the utmost care. Do it with caution. Consider everything carefully. Consider what you do, what you say, how you react - consider it carefully so that you may not sin.

…God's assistance promised to him and the Israelites, was conditional, and might justly be withdrawn upon their breach of the conditions. John Wesley

God said that he would bless Joshua and be with him, but this is what he had to do. If he did not, God might withdraw. God withdraws because we do not consider carefully what we do and take things lightly. There is no excuse for sin. Rev Stegen always said that there is no excuse for sin. You cannot say because he treated me badly, I sinned. Because I am sick, I sinned. There is no excuse.

A study was done among managers to find out what the most common excuse used by employees was: 1. It wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t me. 2. It was someone else.

It is always the next person’s fault. He upset me. It’s his fault. For every sin there is an excuse. Rev Stegen said there is no excuse for sin, no matter what your circumstances are like.

Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left … If you travel in a particular direction by plane and you alter your course by one degree, you will miss your destination by far.

On 31 Oct 1983, there was a flight from Alaska to Seoul, Korea. Unknown to the crew, the computer contained a 1-½ degree routing error. At the point of departure, the mistake was unnoticeable. 100 miles out the deviation was still so small, as to be undetectable. (I know what is right, but I don’t have to do it exactly like that I can deviate a little. Is it necessary to go to that extent?) As the 747 continued over the Pacific, the plane deviated from its course more than 200 miles and was eventually flying over Soviet Union airspace. The Soviet radar picked up the error and the fighter jets intercepted, and flight 007 was shot out of the skies. 269 people on board lost their lives. Choose your direction well, although poor choice may hurt you in only minor ways for a while, the longer you go the more harm they bring. Do not change to the left or right from what God has shown us.

At the end of three days the officers went through the camp and commanded the people, “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it. Joshua 3:3

We know Rev Stegen was there where God moved. Where God did something, He supported. We must be where God rules and is busy. The people had to move when the ark moved. Another place where God often works is when people have fellowship. I work at a bottling plant. I can talk about bottles and machines all day long because it interests me, and it is God’s work. He works there and often we pray together but it does not end there. There are other places where I can also be involved in the church and be uplifted. The fellowship of Christians is important. We should be involved.

DL Moody was visited a prominent Chicago minister who said that he believed that he could be just as good a Christians outside the church as inside the church. Moody said nothing but moved to the fireplace. He took one burning coal and put it on the side of the fire. The two men sat and watched the coal die out. I minister eventually realized that the fellowship of Christians is important.

In 2 Samuel 6 we read the story of Uzzah who tried to stop the ark from falling off the cart when God struck him down. He wanted to steady the ark. Those who attempt to direct God’s work without his authority bring spiritual death upon themselves. They had to maintain a distance from the ark. God directed it like that. There is God’s work and things that we do. We can do God’s work. It is our aim but we cannot move without God directing. There can be a danger that in your eagerness you forget God and do the wrong thing – the motive is right but it is the wrong thing. God did not want it to happen like that with Uzzah. We sometimes make mistakes. I remember when I started working at aQuelle. In the beginning I did it with all my heart. I wanted to do it for God’s work. If a person did wrong, I was strict – too strict. I did not allow God to lead me, and I did things using my knowledge. The Lord convicted me with a verse that I was doing His work but not His will. There should be discipline and order but God must be in it. God must lead it. We must be in tune with Him otherwise we will do the wrong thing. Never forget this for the rest of your life. You cannot do God’s work in your way. Woe to you if you try to do God’s work according to your thinking and the way you think it should be done. You can only do it as God has prescribed or commanded. You can do God’s work in God’s way even if you reach the age of Methuselah. You cannot do it according to your traditions or customs. God’s work is not dependent on you but you are dependent on God’s work. If it is not your work, it is God’s. If you think the work will not happen if you are not there, you are in a dangerous place.

Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” Joshua 3:5 If we sanctify ourselves, God will do the miracles.

13 And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.” Joshua 3:13 As soon as their feet touched the water, it parted. They had to do something. When they crossed the Red Sea, they were fearful because of pharaoh, ?? -this time, when the feet of the people carrying the ark touched the water, it opened.

Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.” Joshua 4:4-7

12 men entered the river and fetched twelve large stones. They built an altar that when their children one day asked them what happened, they could explain. Remember that most of these people were the next generation. They built an altar so that the next generation could talk about what God had done for them. Do we still have what our forefathers taught us and experienced? I might be a 2nd or 3rd generation - what am I doing that my children will also experience this. The 2nd generation success rate is very low. What are we doing so that the next generation will not lose this way? Often parents want to make things easy for their children. They say that when they grew up, they did not have certain things, so they give them to their children so that they do not experience the same difficulties they did. They will lose what God has given through the revival – the 2nd or 3rd generation. Ask the Lord what you can do to help your children not to lose this. You may not know because you have not experienced it.

30% of businesses, when handed down to the next generation, are successful. 12% are successful from 2nd to 3rd generation.

Are you doing what you should with your children so that you do not lose what God has given us. Make it a matter of prayer otherwise they will lose it.

Lenin, the Communist leader, said, ‘Give me your child for 4 years and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted. Give me your child for 8 years and he will be a Communist forever.’ Why did he have such passion in what he believed? You have had your children for 10 years, 15 - 20 years, are they Christians, do they know the Lord, have they experienced Him? Maybe Communists do better job than you, Christian. Knowledge is something that will meet them half way but only a personal experience will get them to meet God.

Of 2nd generation Christians who were surveyed, only 73% believe that there is a God. 61% believed in the importance of religion. 44% attended a religious service once a week. 25% participated in church activities and prayer once a week. 37% felt that religion should be a source of what is right and wrong. 38% read the scripture once a week. Will God be with us if the next generation is 30%? We will be guilty before God.

Something struck me about the Hebrides revival. There is a date to it: 1949-1953. It ended in 1953. Why? There is not much written about it. It could be that God wanted to reveal Himself for those years. It could be that something went wrong. We read about many revivals that ended. What did the people do? We often speak about what happens in revivals, but we should also read about the dangers that stop revivals so that we are cautious.

One article said that people gave man the honour and not God. ‘It was as if the glory had departed…If we do not give God the glory He may never come back to our island again.’ It is God’s work, not mine. I want to be part of it, but it is God’s work. We must give Him the glory and honour to guide us.
Other things they listed: lack of unity – is there someone you are not one with? You will stop God’s work in your house. Pride. Lack of obedience to God. Neglect of revival principles – things that God revealed. Failure to mature - God shows you something, you do not learn, you do not grow, you sit with the same thing year after year. There are many more. This is God’s work. If we want it to continue, He must be in control. He must guide us. He must show us. We must be obedient and accept it 100% otherwise we will lose it. Joshua was faithful to the end of his life. That is a reachable goal for everyone. If you are obedient where you are - at home at work, God can work. God must work where you are and then the work will continue. May God be merciful and may we have obedient hearts.