The End of An Era

“Nothing is certain in life except death and taxes.”  This phrase was penned five months prior to Benjamin Franklin's own death.  Combine a chain of events in my own life with my wife’s very serious bout with COVID, and the recent death of a fellow Next Step graduate, Chris Durrence, the truth of this simple, and even at times comical statement, seems to ring all the truer as I read these first two verses in the book of Joshua.

1 After the death of Moses theservant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son ofNun, Moses’ assistant, saying: 2 “Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan,you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children ofIsrael.

There is little in this world more devastating than the loss of a loved one.  The loss of the sound of their voice as they retell that same story, the one you could listen to a million times, orthe consistency they brought to your life, a life where indeed NOTHING did seem certain, always leaves us with a void.  Most of the time they were only a call away with that same calm and soothing voice.

My Grandpa Arnold comes immediately to mind whenI contemplate death and loss.  He was a true patriarch in our family, and upon his passing nothing was sure to ever be the same.  We went from three generations having a common thread and cause to congregate, to four distinct families doing their best to offer love and support to their growing families.  It was never the same...but, now two of those families are four generations deep, and new life reminds us all that in a way death is more of a beginning than it is an end.

In Deuteronomy 32:51–52 Moses was told he would not ente the promised land.  He, along with an entire generation,would pass away before the nation of Israel would be able to enter the land God had given them.  With having this knowledge, Joshua had to have been filled with such an overwhelming mixture of emotions!  Having lost the leader of a nation who had governed for 40 plus years.  Joshua lost a profound mentor who had undoubtedly passed on invaluable knowledge to him personally.  

Joshua knew of the promised land, flowing with milk and honey.  We can read in Numbers 13 that Joshua had seen first-hand as one of the two spies who was confident 40 years ago, that Israel could have entered in then, and the time had finally come!! There is no question that at the end of one era there is always the beginning of a new one.

In John 12:24 Jesus tells us

24 Most assuredly, I say to you,unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; butif it dies, it produces much grain.

And in Matthew 16:24-25

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and takeup his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loseshis life for My sake will find it.

The death of Moses, or the death of my Grandpa Arnold, are not isolated instances.  You and I are no exception to this truth.  Though you can apply it to the obvious of “death and taxes,” there is also certainty that, yes, you will die and so will I.   Far more important is the life that death brings.  I know there is in me, if I am to continue to see new life emerge in my walk with Christ and if I am to see life to the full, a continual need to identify the things that must be put todeath so that life might come from the death.   Just as Joshua would find out, as we will also while walking through the accounts of this book, thoughthe returns are promised they do not always come easily.

The death necessary to bring forth life would not be a one-time event, but an ongoing sacrifice.  But we can count on the same returns Jesus spoke of with the one grain of wheat.  It will not be a one-for-one return, but as Paul says in Ephesians chapter three,  

exceedingly abundantly aboveall that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.”

This power that works in us does come from a death that with it DID bring a final and complete harvest, a harvest of complete redemption and forgiveness.  A harvest of eternal life free for the taking, paid in full upon the cross by Jesus Christ once and for all.

This is one death that we children of God will never have to know…

Because we KNOW this LIFE!!

Know Jesus and make Him Known.

- Mike

Mike Andersen is a graduate of Next Step Recovery Ministries. Mike currently serves as a teacher at Next Step and helps with various other activities such as community connections, BLOG posts, and various other activities. You can reach Mike at mandersen@nextstepmin.org

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