Monday, May 24, 2010

Why Be Strong and Courageous?

Last week I started a Bible study on Joshua, Judges and Ruth. We're using Kay Arthur's study book, Choosing Victory – Overcoming Defeat and I'm loving it. My plan is to blog my way through this Bible study, and I hafta tell ya, I'm excited!

Joshua. What do you think of when you hear Joshua's name? The wall of Jericho? Me too. But there's so much more to Joshua than just those walls! Moses had two right-hand men: Aaron, his brother, and Joshua.

Joshua was a warrior. He was the one doing the fighting when Aaron and Hur held Moses' arms up while Israel fought against Amalek. (Exodus 17:8-13) He was the chosen and appointed leader after Moses' death.

When Moses commissioned Joshua (Deuteronomy 31:7-8) he said “Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall give it to them as an inheritance. The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

God gave Joshua a seemingly impossible task. He had spent 40 years watching Moses closely and helping him as he led Israel through the desert. He knew how well the nation listened, and didn't listen. He knew how Moses struggled and wrestled on behalf of the people, and when he was appointed as leader, I imagine it was not something he cheered over. Joshua spent a lot of time with Moses and I have a feeling the men knew each other well.

Look at those things that Moses said to him:
  • Be strong.
  • Be courageous.
  • You'll lead the people into the Promised Land.
  • You'll conquer the land for the people.
  • God will go ahead of you.
  • God will be with you.
  • God will NOT fail you.
  • God will NOT forsake you.
  • Do not fear.
  • Do not be dismayed.
Hmmmm. Interesting. Joshua was a warrior who had been groomed for leadership but these things seem to suggest that Joshua felt that the task God had called him to was far beyond his ability. I don't know about you, but that's something I can relate to! I've often felt that the task God has given me was far beyond my capability.

Israel mourned for 30 days after Moses died, and then the book of Joshua starts off with God speaking to Joshua. In fact, much of the first chapters are God directing Joshua, and Joshua turning right around and relaying God's commands and instructions to the nation of Israel. (Tuck that tidbit away.) One of the first things we read in Joshua is God reaffirming what Moses had said when he commissioned Joshua. Check this out:

Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord you God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:7-9 (NAS)

That's almost a mirror image of what Moses said to him! In the first chapter, Joshua is told to be strong and courageous 4 times. Sounds like Joshua needed to hear that. It's something that we need to hear, too.

When God gives us a job to do, we don't need to be dismayed or tremble in fear because God will not forsake us or fail us. He will be with us and He will go before us, and for all those reasons we can be strong and courageous.

What a list of promises to hold onto as we stand on the bank of our own Jordan Rivers!

Coming up next: What I learned about success as I memorized Joshua 1:7-9.

6 comments:

  1. Thank you. Keep posting on what you are learning through this study, sounds great.

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  2. Anonymous7:23 PM

    Good post! Thanks!
    Sunny

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  3. Great verses! When you memorize them, they will become a great comfort to you when you need them most.

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  4. You are such a gifted teacher. I have needed to depend on the Lord as strong and courageous lately. This Truth is transforming!

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  5. SUCH a great reminder. I so often need to remember this. You will NEVER stop loving this study, girl!

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  6. I love reminders that God is always with me and will not ever forsake me nor fail me!

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