Sermon Notes: 2/5/23
Building with Grief in Mind
Pastor Albert Almore
“The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the citadel, that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem.”
“They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.””
“When I heard these things, I sat down and WEPT. For SOME DAYS I MOURNED and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.”
After weeping. After mourning and fasting FOR SOME DAYS, before God. Nehemiah would go on to rebuild the wall in 52 days. After being in such a detrimental state for days of weeping and mourning then to get up and to accomplish your purpose with such vigor, one word comes to my mind….
HOW? How did he move from MOURNING, WEEPING, FOR DAYS to WORKING ON HIS PURPOSE with such great success? I want to talk to you from this special subject this morning:
BUILDING WITH GRIEF IN MIND
The truth of the matter is, you might not need this message NOW, but you’ll need this message LATER. Because having a loved one transition to eternity is a part of this life.
There’s no way around grief so we must learn how to continue build our lives with it.
When it comes to moments like this, I can’t think of a better example to use than the life of Joshua.
We find the obituary of Israels great leader l, Moses in the Sun Journal, beginning in the Deuteronomy column, section 34:5. It reads,
“So Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, just as the Lord had said. The Lord buried him in a valley near Beth-peor in Moab, but to this day no one knows the exact place.”
“Moses was 120 years old when he died, yet his eyesight was clear, and he was as strong as ever.”
“And the people of Israel WEPT for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days. Then the days of WEEPING and MOURNING for Moses were ended.”
"There has never been another prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.” Deuteronomy 34:10
“The Lord sent him to perform all the miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh, and all his servants, and his entire land.” Deuteronomy 34:11
“With mighty power, Moses performed terrifying acts in the sight of all Israel.”
Moses is now gone. Joshua is now up. With a million people waiting on him to hear what’s next, I imagine that Joshua sat there uncertain, possibly STILL GRIEVING, wondering to himself if he had what it took to lead God’s people. In my mind I imagine Joshua’s assistant delicately, but urgently requesting Joshua’s presence from out the tent. "Excuse me sir, I hate to bother you but all of Israel is waiting to hear from you sir to receive your instructions.” Trying to disguise the discouragement in his voice, I can hear Joshua masking his voice with boldness, "I’ll be right out!” only to drop his head back down into the palm of his hands in despair. All of a sudden Joshua hears a sound as if someone is entering the tent, but it’s not a person—it’s the presence of the Lord. The Spirit of the Lord begins to fill the tent as He begins to speak to Joshua. As we ease drop into the tent, it is here where we find Joshua 1:1. It reads,
“After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying:”
““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 of Israel.”
One can only imagine just how overwhelmed Joshua felt hearing these words knowing that he was no longer an assistant but NOW THE LEADER. Upon hearing these words, between thinking about Moses and the weight of his assignment, I can see Joshua breaking down in tears in a whirlwind of emotions. How? How do I go on Lord?! How do I go on from this place TO LEAD your people?
Maybe you’re asking the same thing. I hear you AB, build this, do this, pursue that, conquer this, take the land, go in courage, but how do I take the land and go in courage when I have nothing except these tears, this pain, and this emptiness’s on the inside. How do I go on from this place?
📝 GO ON WITH THEM.
It’s as if God was saying to Joshua, I don’t won’t you to forget Moses. I don’t want you to disregard his life as if his life never happened. No. I want you to go on with him. I believe this to be true, because God kept on mentioning Moses name all throughout the book of Joshua. Joshua 1:3 says,
“Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, AS I SAID TO MOSES.”
Joshua 1:5 says,
“No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; AS I WAS WITH MOSES, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.”
Verse 7 goes on to say,
“Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law WHICH MOSES MY SERVANT COMMANDED YOU; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.”
God told Joshua in verse 2 to ARISE, keep going, keep moving forward, KEEP BUILDING, but ARISE with Moses, and the same goes for you. Arise with their memories. Arise with their traditions. Arise with their lessons.This is why God told told Joshua in the verse we just read to be strong and very courageous, and to observe all the law WHICH MOSES HIS SERVANT HAD COMMANDED THEM. Don’t bury the memories, don’t bury their teachings, ARISE WITH THEM, and that’s exactly what Joshua did.
In his first address to the crowd, he didn’t shun away from Moses, and try to start a whole new look at me legacy. Instead, he built on the memories and the lessons that were already there and told the people to REMEMBERMOSES. In Joshua 1:13, Joshua himself said,
““REMEMBER THE WORD THAT MOSES the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, ‘The Lord your God is providing you a place of rest and will give you this land.’”
Joshua went on with his loved one, and so should we. Next..
📝 GO ON WITH GOD.
Joshua 1:5 says,
“No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; AS I WAS WITH MOSES, so I WILL BE WITH YOU. I will not leave you nor forsake you.”
Go on with God. God was telling Joshua,
📝 As I WAS, so SHALL I BE.
Everything that I WAS for Joshua, so shall I be for you! Joshua 3:7 says,
“And the Lord said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, AS I WAS WITH MOSES, SO I SHALL BE WITH YOU.”
It’s as if God was saying to Joshua, don’t get it twisted Joshua….
📝 As I WAS, I STILL AM.
God is saying to someone today I’m not out of power, I’m not out of miracles, strength, signs, and wonders. I’m not of love. I’m not out of grace. I’m not out of compassion. I’m not out of comfort for my people. AS I WAS, I STILL AM!
Malachi 3:6 says,
For I am the LORD, I change not…
For I Jehovah Change Not! I’m not of love. I’m not out of grace. I’m not out of compassion. I’m not out of comfort for my people. This is why 2 Corinthians 1:3 says,
📝 "All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and THE SOURCE OF ALL COMFORT.”
2 Corinthians 1:3
📝 Why waste your time on IMITATION COMFORT, when you can have The Source of all comfort.
“He comforts us IN ALL OUR TROUBLES so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them THE SAME COMFORT GOD HAS GIVEN US.”
2 Corinthians 1:4
Some of the most comforting words that God spoke to Joshua during his time of GRIEVING & LEADING is in Joshua 1:5,
“No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I WILL NOT LEAVE YOU NOR FORAKE YOU.”
Go on with them. Go on with God. Next….
📝GO ON WITH THE PROMISE OF THE RESURRECTION.
1 Thessalonians 4:13 says,
"And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people WHO HAVE NO HOPE.”
1 Thessalonians 4:13
“For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, GOD WILL BRING BACK WITH HIM THE BELIEVERS WHO HAVE DIED.”
1 Thessalonians 4:14
“We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died.”
1 Thessalonians 4:15
“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, THE BELIEVERS WHO HAVE DIED WILL RISE from their graves.”
1 Thessalonians 4:16
“Then, TOGETHER WITH THEM, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. THEN WE WILL BE WITH THE LORD FOREVER.”
1 Thessalonians 4:17
“So ENCOURAGE EACH OTHER WITH THESE WORDS.”
1 Thessalonians 4:18
It is well because I’m going on with them in my heart. It is well because I’m going on with God by my side. It is well because I’m going on in full faith of the resurrection that’s to come. This isn’t the end. One day we will be TOGETHER WITH THEM, AND WE WILL BE TOGETHER WITH THE LORD FOREVER. AMEN and AMEN.
It’s for this very reason that we can respond like the SHUNAMMITE woman in 2 Kings 4. Years after receiving her miracle child that was promised to her, 2 Kings 4:18-19 says,
“One day when her child was older, he went out to help his father, who was working with the harvesters. Suddenly he cried out, “My head hurts! My head hurts!” His father said to one of the servants, “Carry him home to his mother.””
2 Kings 4:18-19
“When he had taken him and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died. And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door upon him, and went out.”
II Kings 4:20-21
“Then she called to her husband, and said, “Please send me one of the young men and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God and come back.””
II Kings 4:22
“So he said, “Why are you going to him today? It is neither the New Moon nor the Sabbath.” And she said, “IT IS WELL.””
II Kings 4:23
“And so she departed, and went to the man of God at Mount Carmel. So it was, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to his servant Gehazi, “Look, the Shunammite woman!”
II Kings 4:25
“Please run now to meet her, and say to her, ‘Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?’ ” And she answered, “IT IS WELL.””
II Kings 4:26
Her son had just died in her arms. How do you tell your husband that it is well and your baby boy just died? How do you tell the man of God’s servant that it is well, and your baby boy is stretched out on the bed LIFELESS!?
She was able to say it is well because she believed that God would raise her child from the dead, but EVEN IF God didn’t, she believed that God would see her through every step of the way. She believed the words that God essentially spoke to Joshua, AS I WAS, I STILL AM. It was from this perspective that she declared those three words, "IT IS WELL.”
This reminds me of the conversation that Jesus and Martha had in John 11:23,
"Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.””
“Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.””
“Jesus said to her, “I AM THE RESURRECTION and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”
“And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?””
DO YOU BELIEVE THIS?