The book of Joshua begins with a bang. God seems to be stating the obvious to Joshua, because he understood Moses was dead. Perhaps Joshua was even still grieving, as I suspect that he saw Moses as not just a great leader but also as a spiritual father. They had been through many trials and tribulations together and Joshua had seen God accomplish mighty feats of power through Moses.
No doubt he had a deep respect and love for this man of God. Moses shoes were ‘big shoes’ to fill and Joshua must have looked down at his own two feet and wondered how he could possibly take Moses’ place. Yet God was saying to Joshua that now was the time for him to stand up and take his God-ordained place in history. He, and not Moses, would lead the Israelites across the Jordon River, into the Promised Land.
The season with Moses at the helm was over and now Joshua was to finish the journey that Moses had begun. God didn’t leave it there, though, but reassured Joshua that He would be with him as He had been with Moses (Joshua 1:5). Joshua would not move forward in his own strength and wisdom, but rather the mighty God of Israel would be with him also. God would not fail him or abandon him. That must have been very reassuring for Joshua to hear.
These promises would be fulfilled if Joshua faithfully obeyed God’s commandments and actively chose to be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:6). I have deliberately emphasised the word ‘be’ because there is an important point I want to make here. God didn’t command Joshua to feel strong and courageous, but rather to be strong and courageous. And He would not have told Joshua to exhibit this behaviour if he was already doing so.
Joshua needed to guard against allowing fear to dictate his behaviour. And we do too. I believe that you can still ‘be’ strong and courageous, while your heart is thumping loudly in your chest and your legs are wobbling uncontrollably. Fear and intimidation stop many a servant of God from fully obeying God’s plans and advancing His Kingdom here on earth. It is such a powerful, and unfortunately effective, weapon of the enemy, that he gets out again and again.
In one hand he comes out against God’s anointed with a sword of fear and in the other hand he often wields a sword of discouragement. If you haven’t experienced either, you probably have not been a follower of Jesus Christ for very long. As Joshua did, we need to submit to God’s rule during these times and resist the advance of our enemy (James 4:7).
As we read the rest of the book of Joshua, we see that God kept His promise and moved mightily on behalf of Israel and Joshua. Joshua could have turned back or remained in a place of ‘frozenness’ due to fear, but he did not. He moved forward and conquered in the enabling of his, and our, God. I wonder what challenges face you today or what door of opportunity God has flung wide open before you. Once you are convinced God is with you, step out and ‘be’ strong and courageous. The God of Moses and of Joshua is your God too.
Prayer: Father God, I don’t want to be fearful and miss out on fulfilling my destiny. Please help me to move forward in Your strength and enabling. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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