Enjoy some reflections from the book of Joshua in light of our mission as a church to be moving into territories today with the love, grace, selfless acts of service and the good news concerning Christ and the Kingdom of God.
“No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Josh. 1:5-9)
First, do we really believe God is WITH US today as we drive to the office, enter the public school classroom, pick our kids up from soccer, and attend our family reunion? How would we approach our daily tasks differently if we really embrace the truth of “Immanuel” — i.e., God with us? Jesus’ last words to his followers were “Go, make disciples….and I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt 28).
Second, when we begin to live into the truth of ‘God-with-us’, we will naturally be more “strong and courageous” as is repeated so often in the Book of Joshua. “If God is for us, who can be against us” (Rom 8:31)? “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you” (Rom 8:11), then how can we not be more strong and courageous? Think about it.
Third, to “be prosperous and successful” in carrying out God’s mission, we need to be obedience to God’s Word. We all desire to hear from God. We all desire to have His will for us revealed clearly. But are we willing to go to the source of God’s living Word — the Scriptures — daily? That is where God speaks clearest today. The Israelites were told to “obey all the law”, to keep God’s Words “always on your lips”, “meditate on it day and night”, to “do everything written in it.” THEN…and only then…”you will be prosperous and successful.” How many dumb decisions would we avoid if we sought God’s wise counsel through his Word? How many emotional melt-downs would we avoid if we heard a comforting word and reminder of God’s promises before we start a stressful day, or before we enter into that heated conversation? How much better off would we be if we remembered that “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails” (Prov. 19:21)? Sadly, many of us won’t take the time, or spend the energy in studying and learning to understand God’s living voice through His Word.
It’s a big, scary world out there on the other side of the Jordan. So, with Joshua and the Israelites, let’s remember that (1) God is with us and for us, (2) so we can face our tasks with strength and courage, and (3) we can keep ourselves from straying to the left or right by anchoring ourselves in His Holy Word.
Be strong and courageous, Christian.