Wednesday, September 26, 2018

And don't for a minute...

Where does a warrior find strength? I watched a show this weekend about the great warrior chiefs of various American Indian tribes as they were being asked to sign treaties to no longer attack the white settlers. The thing that struck me was not just that they were fighting for their land, but for their way of life - they valued their beliefs, customs, and traditions. These included how they viewed and treated the land and the animals inhabiting that land. They were willing to fight for them. The warrior has a different kind of 'heart' and 'mindset'. The warrior knows what he believes, stands upon those beliefs even when pushed to give up on them, and trusts those beliefs because he trusts what is behind those beliefs!

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 became the leader of Israel right after Moses passed away. Moses passed the torch on to him as he was next in line to get the Israelites out of the wilderness territory they had wandered in for long enough and into the Promised Land. He was commissioned with a huge purpose - cross the Jordan - get the people across safely and into their inheritance. It was finally the time for Israel to take what God had given to them when he delivered them from in Egypt. The promise to Joshua was pretty clear - "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. As a new leader, knowing you had the 'backing' of the one you believed in more than anything else was huge!

The "success" Joshua enjoyed in taking the land of Canaan was based on him keeping 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, we will notice that it is an "imperative" - it demands our attention and our action. There is an unavoidable obligation - keep the Word before you - practicing every word of it - none of it was to be neglected or discounted. We also see 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 will be in his right position. Then his Word would be the guiding force of their lives. As each of these were rightly aligned, they would realize 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, not victory, seemed more like a possibility. 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 and so are we. Strength and courage are based on keeping our focus right - God first, his Word constantly before us, and our steps will 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! Just sayin!