This morning we are back in Deuteronomy again for more lessons from Moses’ Speech: Deuteronomy 1 v 1 – 8
These are the words Moses spoke to all Israel in the wilderness east of the Jordan —that is, in the Arabah —opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth and Dizahab. (It takes eleven days to go from Horeb to Kadesh Barnea by the Mount Seir road.)
In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses proclaimed to the Israelites all that the Lord had commanded him concerning them. This was after he had defeated Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon, and at Edrei had defeated Og king of Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth.
East of the Jordan in the territory of Moab, Moses began to expound this law, saying:
The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites; go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates. See, I have given you this land . Go in and take possession of the land the Lord swore he would give to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—and to their descendants after them.”
“Break camp and advance…”
What does it mean to break camp? It means to pack down and leave an area of safety and an area of comfort and memories. It means you are going to put your possessions in a rucksack and that is what you have for the journey – you are going to use what you have. It means you are going to move into something new. It means you will set up camp again, but where you set up the next camp is determined by your journey and your willingness to go.
I want to tell you about a word that God gave me when I was at Bethel Church in Dagenham which was key to my coming here to Sawyers Church. I was in a leaders meeting and a man of God explained this picture God had given him. The picture was of a lodge on a mountain full of climbers. Many of the climbers where preparing for the next part of the ascent but one person was relaxed in a chair sipping hot chocolate watching other people climbing. This person refused to join the other climbers because he just wanted to enjoy the comfort of the lodge – he had no intention of leaving the warmth and comfort of the lodge because he felt he had climbed high enough. He was missing out on the next stage of the adventure. I realized I was that climber and it was time to leave the lodge and climb for myself.
I believe God is saying to us as a church it is time to climb – break camp and advance.
What are some of the things that hold us back? Breaking camp, I believe, means breaking out of our comfort zone, our old ways, our traditions, and experiences and moving into the new things God has for us.
We continue to look at some of these new things with our vision for this year.
The next strand of our vision is that we are committed to opening a Debt Centre here in Brentwood in partnership with Christians Against Poverty and exploring what this will look like and how we can partner with other churches. Many people in our country struggle with debt and many people who have come to Debt Centres in partnership with CAP have not only got out of their debt but have found the Lord Jesus as their Saviour as well. People like Geoff Taylor who gave his testimony at church on Sunday. If you would like to know more about CAP please speak to Pastor Peter Jordan or Tracy Leak.