Jentezen Franklin - The Transitional Place
Joshua 5. I wanna begin reading with verse 12. Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land. And the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year. And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked. And, behold, a man opposite him with a sword drawn in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, are you here for us or our adversaries? And he said, no. But as commander of the army of the Lord, I have now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and worshipped, and said to him, what does my Lord say to His servant? Then the commander of the Lord's army said to Joshua, take your sandals off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy. And Joshua did so.
And now one more little phrase in Joshua 6:1. Now Jericho. He didn't start out talking about it, but the now means there's some timing connected here. After after you've been through what you just heard in the previous chapter, now Jericho. Now it's time to move and cross over into the Promised Land. I wanna talk to you today about what to do when you're in a transitional place. I really felt like, as I tried my best to get the heart of God for this congregation, and the people that are watching, those of you online, those of you by television. I believe that there are millions of people, perhaps, who are hearing me today who are in transitional places.
And you've gotta understand that when you're in a transitional place, it means that God is going to move you from where you are into what He has for you. But in that transitional place, it can become very, very frustrating because when you're at the same level for a long time, I believe we weren't built to be at the same level all the time. I believe something in us yearns for more. Something in us yearns to go from faith unto faith. From glory unto glory.
I know as this church has grown, when we would hit a certain level, I would get, and it seems like we would be there for awhile. And I would get this uneasiness. This restlessness that would almost drive me outta my comfort zone, I guess. That we've gotta break through, and we've gotta grow, and we've gotta reach more people. And I believe that frustration is from God. That when you've been at the same level of whatever it is that you're experiencing in God, and you can't seem to get further in what He's called you to do, you're in a transitional place.
The word of the Lord came, if you read it in this chapter, it came to Joshua. And he said, you and this people will cross over this Jordan to a land that I will show you. There's a place of crossing over. A separation from the wilderness. A separation from the dry spell. A separation from the struggle of just getting by. Just having enough. Just going through the same wilderness experience. That's not God's best, and that's not God's plan for your life. The wilderness has a purpose: to teach you to trust God. But He has a place of crossing over for your life.
And notice that it took a Joshua. It took a power relationship. Without a power relationship, Israel could not get to their Promised Land without a relationship with Joshua. Joshua is a beautiful type and picture of Jesus. And there's no way that you're gonna get into what God has for you without going through Jesus. Inside of you, there are things that cannot be unlocked till you get around the right folks. And Joshua could take them where Moses could not. Moses represented the law.
And the reason that God didn't let him take them into the Promised Land, I've heard people say because he struck the rock, and I understand that that was a part of it. But really, he made it into the Promised Land 'cause he ended up talking to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. But the reason He didn't let Moses lead them into the Promised Land is because He wanted us to understand the law can't get you there. It's going to require Joshua, Jesus, to take you into the promises. You can't earn it. You can't deserve it. It comes only through Jesus Christ. Through His blood. Through His cross. Through His resurrection. Through His name, you enter into the promises. Gimme a big amen right there.
And so it matters whether or not you get power relationships in your life. First of all, with Jesus. But then with leadership that God puts in your life. If they had not connected with Joshua, then they would have never entered in. There's a difference, folks, between showing up at church and joining up with the vision of the house. Join up with powerful people. Join up with anointed people. Join up with people who have a touch of God, and a dream, and a vision. And if you don't have a dream, get around somebody who is dreaming. And God has a way of using them to spark something in you that will cause you to come out of the mediocrity that you've been in and begin to walk into the promises God has for you.
The scripture said, and God began to magnify Joshua in the eyes of the people. Now listen to me very carefully. When a new move of God begins to happen, you either ignore it, or you make friends with it. Notice that when God is taking you somewhere and transitioning you, you'll see this in the Old Testament. God constantly, three times, changed the diet of the people. The children of Israel had three specific diets in the Old Testament. In Egypt, it says over, and over, and over, they ate leeks, and garlic, and onions. I'm gonna call that the food of bondage.
When you're in bondage, you eat certain things that everybody around you can tell what you've been eating. It's not hard to tell what some people have been eating 'cause their attitude stinks. What comes out of their mouth stinks. And we can tell what you're consuming in your diet. If you're consuming offense, if you're consuming bitterness, if you're consuming unbelief, if you're consuming doubt, and fear, and worry, and depression, it always comes out in a stinking attitude and in words that come out of your mouth. If you're ever gonna get out of bondage, you've got to start eating something you've never eaten before.
The Bible puts it this way. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Instead of taking in a diet of things that gives you a stinking attitude, you have to begin to take in the Word of God. Listen to it, worship with it, feed on it, listen to CDs, listen to preachers. Get the Word in you. Because God is bringing you out of bondage. Out of and off of the food of bondage. And He's saying, I want you to move into a new place. And the scripture said that He changed their diet. And then they get into the wilderness, and they had the second diet. Guess what it was? It was called manna.
And the word manna in Hebrew means "what is it"? What is it? For 40 years, they ate the bread of uncertainty. What is it? It's the bread that sustains you while you're wandering through the wilderness, and you don't understand where you're going or where you're at. And you're just kinda holding on, and God is teaching you things. And when you first get saved, God'll take you off of the stinking attitude stuff, and He'll say, come on out. And He'll plant you in a church. And at first it's exciting, but then you may go through a little wilderness time. But that wilderness is just going to equip you with something called manna. You don't know quite what you've gotten into, but church is a "what is it" to you.
I heard I'm supposed to get baptized. What is it? What is baptism? What is the Holy Spirit? What is the baptism in the Holy Spirit? It's all a big what is it. But that's OK. God has you right where He wants you. And then there came the place of the crossover. And that's where I read where the scripture said, and the manna ceased, and they ate of the fruit of the ground. The third diet, final diet that He put His people on, now their diet had to change again.
And He said, now you can have whatever you're willing to break the ground for. You've gotta become a ground breaker. And whatever you're willing to sow for, that's what you can eat. Whatever you wanna eat, you decide. Whatever you wanna get out of your walk with God, now that you've been saved, and I've taught you what it is to be a believer, what it is to be an intercessor, what it is to be a witness for Jesus Christ, what it is to be a spirit-filled believer, now it's up to you.
Now the manna's gonna cease, and what you get out of your Christian walk is not up to God. Whatever you sow, you will reap. A demand is placed on your faith now. Now listen. This is a big point. Your comfort level - in a place of transition, your comfort level must be challenged. That's why He changed their diet. Because it's uncomfortable. Your fruitfulness is linked to your discomfort zone. That's why He said they that sow in tears. It's uncomfortable. Will reap in joy. That's why there's a verse that said he that will not plow by reason of the heat. It's uncomfortable. Will have no harvest in the winter.
Your fruitfulness is linked to your discomfort zone. Your fruitfulness is tied to being in a place of discomfort. Just about the time you're ready to write and print your 1.001 ways to prepare manna recipe book, God will come along, and He will say, I'm changing everything. And you become in a place of discomfort. What is it is over. Now go get it yourself. It's called the food of freedom. It's not a hand-out. You have to take a plow, and you have to sow, and you have to reap. Your diet has to switch when you cross over.
A woman giving birth, the first sign that she's entering fruitfulness is discomfort. When a woman's gonna have a baby, the first thing she will do is feel discomfort, and get to the hospital, and she's got one thing on her mind: are the drugs ready? Because this is extremely uncomfortable. But notice that discomfort is always connected to fruitfulness. I'm saying to you today that God has you right where He wants you in a transitional place.
Now notice what happened. Joshua then sees the angel of the Lord, and he asks him a question. He's standing there with a sword in his hand, the angel is. And he said, have you come for us, or are you for our adversaries? And I love this angel. He's a bad angel. He said neither. If you want God on your side, you better get on God's side. 'Cause He's not on your side, and He's not on their side. He's on His side. And if you want Him, you better get on His side. People take the Word and act like He's on our side. God's word isn't for sides. God's word is what it is, and you either get in line with it, or He just ignores you.
I like this angel because this angel said, it don't matter to me. I've come to do the will of God. I'll whip you, I'll whip them, I'll whip all of y'all. I don't care. I'm on assignment for the will of God to be done. It's not about people. It's not about churches. It's about the will of God and God's glory. And you can't just grab the Word and act like you can fight somebody with the Word. God has His own agenda, and we have to get into His agenda.
Now notice this. I'm just gonna do some little teaching here now. Joshua surrenders leadership to the angel of the Lord. Joshua was captain of the people, but the angel of the Lord was the captain of the host of the Lord. You see, everybody's not a leader. Everybody has the potential to be a leader, but not everybody's a leader. If you don't believe everybody's not a leader, put them over your stuff. Let's put 'em over your stuff.
Leadership is identified by two things. Leadership is not titles. Leadership is not position. Leadership is not what you call yourself. I'm a leader. Leadership has to do with two things. Number one, results. Don't tell me you're the best mechanic in town if I just had you work on my car, and they're pulling me up in a tow truck. I don't care how big your yellow page ad is. If you don't get results, you're not a leader. It's about results. And the world knows this. The world will hire people, and if they don't get results, they say take your little title and leave. Goodbye. Secondly, leadership is about fruitfulness. Leaders have the ability to produce fruit.
The biblical example of that is Moses. The Bible said that he was ready to find the first high priest for the nation of Israel, and so God told him what to do. He said, I'll tell you how you vindicate and know who I choose as the leader. He said tell 'em to take a dead stick. Cut a stick down. Each tribe is to write their name of their leader on that stick. And bring a stick representing the tribe and the leader of that tribe, 12 of them, bring it into the holy place, and put it on the Ark of the Covenant, and leave it in there. And the stick that was dead and comes back to life is, the way that you will know the one that I choose is the stick that was dead will begin to produce fruit.
And that is the one that you are to follow. That is the one that you are to go to with your sins. That is the one you are to go to to get the blessing. And the Bible said they all brought dead sticks, all 12 of the tribes. And there was one that Aaron had, and he laid it down. They came back. All the sticks were dead, but one of the sticks came alive. And it was budding, and it was fruitful. It was Aaron's rod, the scripture said. And God said, the one that's fruitful, that's the leader you are to follow. That's the leader you are to follow. That's what God did, He did the same thing when He wanted somebody to lead the world to salvation.
Every religion said our founder is the right one. Islam said Muhammad is the right one. Buddhism said Buddha's the one. Confucius is the one. All the religions of the world: "Our leader is the one". God says, fine. Let's kill 'em all. Jesus claims to be the one. Let's kill 'em all. Kill 'em all, and lay 'em in the tomb. And the one that's dead like a stick and comes back alive again, fruitful, He's the first fruits of them which sleep.
Well, I got news for ya. Muhammad stayed like a dead stick, and Buddha stayed like a dead stick. But on third day, He's alive again. His name is Jesus. There's no other name. There's no other way to life, and there's no other one who can lead you into the Promised Land. He's our fruitful leader. Will you give Jesus a big praise? The mighty name of Jesus. Glory. Glory.
I'm almost done. And what got me about this story is the scripture said when the angel said, who's on the Lord's side, Joshua said, I'm with you. And then I love this part. Joshua fell on his face and worshipped. He fell on his face. He's at a transitional place that he has longed to be and his people have longed to be for 40 long years. He's there. But I love the fact that before you get to Joshua 6:1, where it says now Jericho, right before it, a man in a place of transition fell on his face. And the angel said, take off your shoes.
The Message Bible said take off your shoes, and stay awhile. In other words, I know you're busy. I know you got stuff pushing on ya. I know the people are anxious. I know they're all packed up and ready to go. They been waiting for generations to get across this river. I know a lot's going on. I know you're a busy leader. But fall down on your face. Take your shoes off. Stay awhile, and worship God. Because when you worship, it sets you up for the transition. Leaders oughtta be worshippers. You've got time to worship, no matter what's pushing on you.
Worship is not wasting time. God says, I want people who claim to be my leaders to spend time with me, worshipping me. Take your shoes off. Stay awhile. Another thing about taking your shoes off is, have you ever walked around barefoot? You feel everything. Your feet are sensitive. So take your shoes off. Where I'm taking you, I'm gonna need you to be sensitive. I'm gonna need you to really be in tune and leaning on me. Where I'm taking you, you've never been before, and I need you to be worshipful. I need you to be in a spirit of dependency. Leaning on me. Worshipping me. Looking to me as your source, not man.
And I conclude with this point. Your Bible said, now Jericho was straitly shut up. Walls of resistance. They heard they were coming. Have you ever seen in the movies, you know, back in the old days, you know, when they had the cities? When they hear the enemy's coming, the drawbridge starts to, that's what it means. It was straitly shut up. Nobody was going in, nobody was coming out. Watch this. Walls of resistance. The Lord had somebody inside. Where they were trying to go, God had somebody for Joshua that was where he was trying to get to already.
And here's the thing that the Lord told me to tell you. There is somebody that's gonna help you get into your promised land. And here's the catch. It was Rahab, and she was a prostitute. If you think that He's only gotta use your people, and your kinda folks, and everybody that thinks like you, and acts like you, and agrees with everything - that's not how God takes you into the Promised Land. He will use whoever He wants to use when He wants to use them.
And if you're sensitive, if you can hear Him, if you'll worship Him, you're humble enough to say, I know you're not a prophet. You're a prostitute. But God said come to your house. And she was the one that helped 'em get into the Promised Land. The Lord said to tell you that there is someone coming in your future that you are gonna have to connect with. They are a power relationship, and they may not even be saved. Stand up on your feet. No one moving, no one walking around. Just real still and real quiet for just a moment. I want you to take 30 seconds, all over this room, at all of our campuses, in the overflow, wherever you are.
Lift your hands up high, and I want you to do what Joshua did. As busy as he was, as pressing as things were on him, he took time to worship. Throw your hands up. Turn the volume up on your voice box. Get a praise phrase in your lips. Open your mouth. And if you're in a place of transition, begin to worship Jesus. He's the good shepherd. He leads you into green pastures beside the still waters. Goodness and mercy are following you, and you need to worship. You need to take your shoes off a little while. You need to say "God, I'm just gonna settle right here, and I'm gonna give you the glory that I"... the steps of a righteous man are ordered of the Lord.
"I've been frustrated. I've been at a place of transition. But I know you're taking me in. I know you're leading me in. I know you're taking me, God, where I've never been before, and the walls of resistance are coming down. The walls of resistance are coming down, in Jesus' mighty name. And in the name of Jesus, I speak power relationships". The most unlikely people. You're gonna set at the table in the room with the most unlikely people. You're gonna pinch yourself and say, "am I really here. How did this happen"? And you're gonna know that as you spent time in worship, He opens doors no man can shut. When He announces favor on your life, nobody's curse can stop the blessing.