Read His Words Before Ours!
Big burly guy, biceps of steel. Broad back, thick muscular legs. Oh, and a bushy beard.
That’s how *I* picture the Biblical Joshua.
Perhaps we mentally jump to the battle of Jericho as he carried out God’s counter-intuitive battle plan with strong leadership skills. (Joshua 6)
Or maybe we remember Joshua as a spy who explored the Promised Land, one of only two men who trusted God could bring them into the land. We might use words like steadfast, courageous, or brave to describe his heroism. (Numbers 13-14)
Perhaps you don’t know much about Joshua; our only connection might be a fairly common verse, found in the book named after him, “Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
Now, why would a brave man who led armies into countless battles AND stood nearly alone in his commitment to God’s promise need to be reminded to be strong and courageous THREE times in the span of four short verses?! (Joshua 1:6-9)
All too often, when we think of “famous” men and women of the Bible, we put them on a pedestal, esteeming them for their valor, courage, perseverance, wisdom, and strength. We look UP to them as someone special, set apart and used by God in extraordinary ways to fulfill His divine purposes. We begin to elevate them, believing WE could never do what THEY did.
Do you notice what we’ve done, though? We’ve taken GOD out of the equation. In truth, GOD was the one who worked through our mighty heroes of the faith, which makes GOD the real hero, NOT Joshua (or Esther or Gideon, or anyone else).
Since God doesn’t change (Hebrews 13:8), He can use US in the SAME way He did our favorite heroes of the faith! With this profound truth in mind, let’s revisit Joshua.
As I prepared for this Journey Study, I poured over the Scriptures, digging into Joshua’s story in a new way.
As I studied, God showed me He is always working in our lives, preparing us for the plans HE has for us. Most often, we are not aware of what the future holds, but God knows every single detail and is weaving a BEAUTIFUL masterpiece, both in our lives and throughout history.
I bet Joshua would say the same, “I had NO clue when I saw Moses stretch out his staff over the Red Sea and the waters parted so we could walk across on dry land that one day *I* would be leading the people in a silent march around the city of Jericho and watching the walls come crumbling down on the 7th day.” (Exodus 14:21-22; Joshua 6:4-5) He might give a reflective sigh, “Man oh man, the JOURNEY sure prepared me for Jericho.”
Perhaps he would open up, “I was eager to settle in Canaan, the Promised Land. The daily manna along the way had filled me with the courage I would need at Kadesh when everyone else doubted God. (Numbers 13:26-33) I had complete confidence God would make a way for us, like He had at the Red Sea. But no one would listen! And because of THEIR doubt, we wandered in the desert for FORTY years. I had NO idea what God would teach me during that ‘wasted time’ in our nation’s history.” After a long pause, he might add, “The waiting is NEVER wasted.”
Or maybe he would confess, “Even after all I witnessed God doing, I was still afraid as I assumed leadership from Moses. But God didn’t shame or scold me. He definitely didn’t abandon me. Nope! It was almost as if He grabbed my hand, leaned in close, and whispered in my ear, ‘Be strong and courageous. I’VE got this.’”
What about YOU?
Have you ever had Kadesh moments?
Faced with challenges, will we focus on the overwhelming, seemingly-impossible tasks before us, or will we fix our eyes on JESUS, trusting Him to provide strength, wisdom, and courage to follow Him?
Joshua would beg us to “be strong and courageous,” relying not on our own abilities, but trusting wholeheartedly in God, Who ALWAYS keeps His Word.
When we do, we watch walls come crumbling down, broken relationships restored, bodies healed, and bills paid.
You see, the God who helped Joshua conquer Jericho is the SAME God who is asking you to lead a small group, start a new job, or call an estranged family member.
The same God who gave Joshua the courage to believe in Him at Kadesh is the SAME God prodding you to take those foster care classes, write that book, present your idea at work, or message a friend who’s hurting.
If Joshua needed to be reminded (more than once) to be strong and courageous, it’s okay that we have our doubts, too. God is bigger than our fears. He can handle our questions.
So, my sister, be strong and courageous, FOR THE LORD YOUR GOD IS WITH YOU, today, tomorrow, and FOREVER. ALL praise and glory and honor go to GOD, our TRUE Champion.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!