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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Be Strong! Be Courageous!

And don't for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you'll get where you're going; then you'll succeed. Haven't I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don't be timid; don't get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.
(Joshua 1:8-9)

Joshua was the leader of Israel right after Moses passed away.  Moses passed the torch to him to get the Israelites out of the wilderness and into the Promised Land.  He was commissioned with a huge purpose - cross the Jordan.  It was the time for Israel to finally take what God had delivered them from Egypt to inherit.  The promise to Joshua - "I'll give you every square inch of land you set your feet on".  If that was not enough to get Joshua motivated to move into the land, God promised to be with him just like he had been with Moses.

The "success" Joshua enjoyed in taking the land of Canaan was based on the passage today - he had to keep God's Word clearly before him and the people - obediently pursuing the revelation God had given through Moses.  If we look at how this sentence is structured, you will notice that it is an "imperative" - it demands your attention and your action.  There is an unavoidable obligation - keep the Word before you - practicing every word of it.

It is also a tremendous promise or word of assurance that reminds Joshua that there is to be an order to the victory Israel will win.  First, God in right position.  Next, his Word to be the guiding force of their lives.  Last, success in their endeavors.  This is definitely something we can learn.  When we get the "order" right, victory is just the next step away.  

There is something extra-ordinary in getting this right: God is with us every step we take.  When God is in the right position in our lives (at the center of all we do) - the hunger for his Word is also there.  His presence at the core of our being and his Word continually being turned over in our minds is certain to guide our steps.  Joshua received two other reminders:  Be strong!  Be courageous!  

The strength here is not that of physical strength - muscular enhancement that just let him fight like a warrior.  It is also the mental strength that would keep him focused in the times when defeat seemed more like a possibility than victory.  It is the emotional strength to doubt his doubts and continue on in the faith that God was with him each step of the way.  

The courage of a warrior - the strength of a leader - Joshua was expected to have both.  Both were based on keeping his focus right - God first, his Word constantly before him, and his steps would be ordered of God.  We will do well to learn the lesson of Joshua - Be Strong!  Be Courageous!  The Lord Thy God is With Thee!