Archive for October, 2008

Be Strong and Courageous

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Today’s scripture: Joshua 1:1-9 (ESV-text and audio) (KJV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Melody Merida):

Now that Moses has died, the people of Israel — who have been wandering in the desert for the past 39 years — need a new leader to guide the way as they prepare to enter the Promised Land. Joshua, Moses’ right hand man is the guy God chooses for the job.

Here we read what sounds like an incredible list of gifts God is about to bestow upon the Israelite people. The people are set to inherit land as far as the eye can see, no one will be able to stand up against them, and God will never leave them! Those are some remarkable gifts they’ll receive from YHWH!

It would be easy to read these verses and get the impression that God is making these promises so that the road ahead will be smooth. After all, this sounds pretty rosy, doesn’t it? What a sweet deal the Israelite people get. And hey, they deserve a smooth ride after all of these years spent in the desert, with no place to call home. They’ve earned it — after all, they’re God’s chosen people.

But I don’t think a free ride is exactly what God is promising. Indeed, the rest of the book of Joshua is a litany of wars and struggles the Israelites must face as they seek to claim the land God had promised to them. This wasn’t a free ride at all. They had to fight for everything that God had promised to give to them. And fight they did, over and over again.

So, did God not keep God’s end of the bargain? Did God let the Israelites down?

God didn’t promise it would be easy, but God did promise them victory in the end. Three times in this passage — in verses 6, 7, and 9 — God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous. What need is there for courage if difficult times are not ahead? What need is there for strength if that strength will not be tested? The most telling part of the message God gives to Joshua is found at the end of verse 9, “for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” That seems to be the key. Joshua could be strong and courageous, because God promised to be with him wherever he went!

Just like Joshua, we’ve never been promised that our journeys will be easy. God never promised that we would get to detour around all the hardships of life. But God does promise that when we face those battles, God will be there with us.

Thought for the day: The promises of God were true for Joshua, and they are still true for us. Be strong and courageous!

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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