December 17, 2017
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
2017 is coming to a close and I find myself battling a deep sadness. As I look to the future and those promises 2018 already holds I find myself tempted to quiver backwards in fear. My head wants to fall and darkness wants to find me huddled in a corner. I have a choice to make.
I love the book of Joshua and the story of a man who was always trying to seek and find God. Joshua was the servant to Moses, he was one of the 12 spies who went into the land of Canaan and only 1 of 2 who believed they should go and possess the land. Joshua dreamed God sized dreams. The Israelites instead pulled back in fear and followed the 10 unbelieving spies. The next 4 decades saw Israel wandering the desert as the original Israelites passed away and Joshua was being prepared to follow in Moses’ footsteps.
Here in Joshua 1 God is giving Joshua his marching orders so to speak. Can you imagine: Moses, your leader, has passed away and now the entire community is being turned over to you! The weight of this had to press on Joshua’s shoulders, there had to be fear knocking on his heart as he faced the promises of his future. There had to be a moment that he was tempted to run and hide. Joshua, a true mighty warrior, was told by God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, to be strong and courageous multiple times while giving him simple instructions that will make Joshua successful.
I picture this remarkable warrior quietly taking in all God has said as he stands next to the Jordan River. The sun is setting and the sounds of the rivers ebb and flow soothes his mind and eases his heart as he faces his future. I see his face wrinkled from a life hard lived in the desert; his eyes softened from meeting with God and longing to walk closer and deeper with Him. I see the stars finding their resting place for the night and the moon settling in as Joshua worships and adores The Creator of the entire universe. Joshua faces his future head on knowing that God is with him wherever he goes.
As we face the crossing of 2017 to 2018 we have a choice to make. Maybe you are like me and you find yourself looking at the promises of 2018 and wanting to run and hide, maybe there is an excitement in your lungs as you take a deep breath and jump head first into 2018, or maybe you have no feelings at all about crossing into yet another new year. Whichever camp you fall into we can learn lessons from Joshua and listening to what God tells this strong warrior.
First, we need to listen to what he calls Joshua, “Strong and Courageous.” God reminds a man who has seen war to be strong and courageous multiple times. We are sons and daughters of the King of Kings who can come against us? Whom shall we fear? We are strong and courageous. We are warriors for God and He placed this identity in us.
Second, The Word needs to be on our lips and we need to have our noses in His book. If Joshua follows this God says He will be prosperous and successful. The more we meet God through His story the more our hearts mold and refine to look like Him. Our tongue is an incredibly powerful tool, James chapter 3: 1-12 tells us how powerful it truly is. Out of the mouth comes the things of our hearts and if our hearts are focused on God and His Word we pour out power for His glory and His Kingdom. Success and prosperity may look different than your knee jerk thought. It will be pure and heavenly. It may be a little backwards from our fleshly thinking. God tends to do things backwards. For example a King born in a barn and lay in a manger.
Lastly, God tells Joshua He will be with Him wherever He goes. There is great comfort in knowing that God is with us always. So those moments we are scared, those moments fear tries to sneak in, those moments that we hold the promises God has promised we can find deep comfort and relief knowing God is holding us close (Psalm 91:4).
So as this New Year, 2018, sneaks its way into our present, watch the stars rise and the sun set with a smile and deep trust in your heart knowing that God is right beside you and you are strong and courageous. As you meditate on His Word and follow Him you will prosper and find heavenly success for the Kingdom.
Blessings as 2017 closes and Merry Christmas!