Of the more than 200 geysers in Yellowstone National Park, there is one that stands out from all the rest. It’s not the largest, nor does it push hot water to the greatest height. What makes it the most popular is the fact that every 65 minutes you can count on it to send a stream of boiling liquid over 170 feet into the air; no wonder it bears the familiar name, “Old Faithful.”
We’re also well aware that when it comes to consumer products, dependability sells. When I was growing up this was the centerpiece of ads featuring John Cameron Swayze. He would do something outrageous with a watch, and as the camera drew a bead on the sweep second hand, Swayze would proclaim, “Timex! It takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin!’” For those who are younger, perhaps the concept of dependability brings to mind the lonely Maytag repairman or a fuzzy pink rabbit that keeps going and going and going…
Dependability is synonymous with things like consistency, faithfulness, trustworthiness, punctuality, reliability and steadfastness. It’s a quality that virtually everyone values, but few strive to practice. Therefore it’s an attribute that stands out in our world today.
When it comes to examples of this trait, Scripture contains a host of names and faces—but few more prominent than Joshua. Born to Hebrew slaves suffering under the oppression of their Egyptian taskmasters, it appears that as he matured there was one issue that became settled in his mind—and that issue would control the remainder of his life. In spite of the difficulty of his environment, he became convinced Jehovah was the one true God.
Joshua first steps onto the stage of Scripture in Exodus 17:8-16. Here he leads Israel’s army against a group of nomadic raiders. Though the entire account takes only 9 verses, we come away with two important observations. First, Joshua was faithful in the execution of Moses’ instruction (v. 10). Where the previous section reveals the grumbling complaints of the people against Moses (even to the point there was talk of stoning him), Joshua is a man who obeys without hesitancy or protest. Secondly, we find him sticking with his assignment until the mission is completed. Though the battle is little more than a brief footnote to the numerous events taking place during the 40 year exodus, our initial introduction to Joshua shows him to be a man who could be counted on.
The next time we see him is in Exodus 24:13 as he becomes Moses’ servant. When Moses goes up on Mount Sinai and everyone else (including Aaron) remained at the foot of the mountain, Joshua experiences the privilege of accompanying Moses at least part way (also see Ex. 32:17).
Our next encounter is the most familiar demonstration of Joshua’s faithfulness. As Israel stands poised on the edge of the Promised Land, Moses selects a dozen leaders to reconnoiter the land before them. They’re instructed to check out their opposition, evaluate the terrain, survey the enemy’s defenses and validate the land’s potential (Numbers 13:18-20). As the twelve spies return they are in full agreement regarding the productivity of the land, but sharply divided in their assessment of the adversaries. Along with Caleb, Joshua stands his ground regarding God’s ability to deliver the enemy into their hand, but he didn’t traverse the land wearing rose-colored glasses. He saw the same problems. He understood the size of the obstacles and the enormity of the task. But he chose to see those things through the eyes of faith, trusting God to do what He had previously promised. Even in the face of intense pressure from his fellow spies and a nation of people who spoke of stoning him, Joshua again proves himself reliable.
Having been told that he will not be allowed to enter Canaan, we read of Moses’ petition to God regarding his replacement (Numbers 27:15-23). He prays that God appoint a man over the congregation so they would not be like “sheep which have no shepherd.” Moses’ prayer is answered. Having faithfully filled the role of diligent general, competent assistant and trustworthy spy, Joshua is now given the enormous responsibility of succeeding Israel’s great deliverer. His years of service had not only shown him to be dependable, but also revealed the One upon whom he himself depended.
As he nears the end of his life, this seasoned soldier gathers the nation together for one final meeting. It should come as no surprise that much of what he communicates to them in his farewell address revolves around the elements of faithfulness and dependability (Josh. 23,24).
Can God depend upon you? Are you committed to being faithful to him? Can He count on you to stand up for His precepts and to share His truths? Can He trust that you are determined to submit to His will, to worship regularly and to walk consistently?
Can your family depend upon you? Are you fulfilling the promises you uttered to your mate on your wedding day? Can your mate and children trust you to provide the spiritual encouragement they need? Are you consistently demonstrating through your actions and attitudes that which you hope your children will become?
Can your church depend upon you? Are you there when you’re supposed to be? Are you active and involved in the work of the local church to which you belong? When you say you’ll do something, do you follow through? When a need arises, can you be counted on to respond and fulfill the task?
Can others depend upon you? Are you punctual on the job or at school? Are you known as someone who keeps their word? Do you fulfill your assignments to the very best of your ability? Can your boss trust you to give a day’s work for a day’s wage?
Of the more than 200 geysers in Yellowstone, only one stands out above the rest. Let us realize that dependability doesn’t just distinguish geysers. Being a Christian who can be counted on will set you apart from the rest as well.
Guest Author: Terry Slack
We are glad to have Terry Slack as our guest author for today! Terry began preaching while employed with Publix Supermarkets in Orlando, Florida. After his “retirement” from the grocery business, he and his family moved to Marion, Indiana to work with the Woodland Hills congregation. He presently labors with the Northwest church in Arlington, Texas where he has been for the past 15 years. He’s been married to his bride, Beverly, for 34 years.
Can He Depend On You
By Wilkin Bacon
Jesus the Savior came down from above
Came to bring mercy and love
“Crucify Him” the mob scornfully cried
So He on Calvary died
While on the cross He prayed, “Father forgive,
For they know not what they do”
For us He died that for Him we might live
Can He depend on You?
He is preparing in heaven a home
For all His faithful and own
Are you preparing to stand by His side
Or in that day be denied?
Have you told others the story of love?
Showing them what they should do
These are the precepts that come from above
Can He depend on You?
Can He depend on You (Can He depend on You)?
His blessed will to do (His blessed will to do)?
Will you be crowned with the faithful and true
Can He depend on You?