Have you ever tried taking up a job you’ve never done before… stepping into the shoes of someone whose feet might be too big for you? Someone whose epitaph was:
“Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, 11 who did all those signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. 12 For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.”
After Moses died, God gave Joshua his first assignment.
He told Joshua to get ready to cross the Jordan River and lead the Israelites to enter the promise land. (vv. 1-2)
God’s promise: (vv. 3-5)
1) I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. How big is ‘every place?’ From the desert of Lebanon, from the great river, the Euphrates, all the Hittite country to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. (vv.3-4)
2) No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. You will be winning battles all your life! (v. 5a) How?
3) As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will never leave you nor forsake you. (v. 5b)
God’s instructions: (vv. 6-9)
“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.” v. 6
God gave Joshua the reason why he needed to be strong and brave. He had a big job to do – to partner with God to fulfill His promise to their people.
“Be strong and ‘very’ courageous” (v. 7a). Repeated words are important… and VERY so! God ‘commanded’ Joshua 3x (vv. 6,7a,9). “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
The secret to being strong and brave…
1) Obey God’s command (vv.7b-8)
“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.”
God’s Word is our roadmap for living. Life is about making the right choices… what to do, where to go, how to do, when to do, why do or do not do…
How do we let God’s Word be our guide? We need to always read it, say it, memorize it, think about it day and night, obey it – everything that is written in the Bible.
That… you may be successful wherever you go. (7b)
Then… you will be prosperous and successful. (8)
Successful and prosperous… not according to the worldly standard but according to God’s purpose and mission for me. To be successful is to be able to do what God tells me to do. To be prosperous is to claim God’s promise that He is with me wherever I will go. When God is with me, why then should I be afraid? When I am not afraid, I can be strong. My knees will not shake with fear.
2) Believe God’s promise (v. 9b)
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
When I worry, when I give up, is it because I doubt God’s presence? Is it because I think I might fail in the mission? Am I going to do it alone? Do I need to remember God’s promise and fully trust that the Lord, my God will be with me wherever I go?
Be strong and courageous. When someone tells me to be strong, it is a reminder that I am weak. I need to gear up. Strength and courage go together. I can grow weak with fear. When I take courage, it makes me stronger. Courage is not the absence of fear but the presence of God, so they say. It is easier said than done. And it is possible by the grace and mercy of God.
Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. So help me, Lord. Amen.