Saturday, April 19, 2014

Joshua 1:7-9 -- On Being Strong Enough to Obey God

"Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."
Joshua 1:7-9

This is part of the conversation the Lord had with Joshua after Moses died, and I really like the emphasis here.  He tells Joshua several times to be strong and courageous... but not so he can beat people up or win a war.  Here it say it is so that he will be able to obey God's law.  Obedience will help him prosper and have success.  But for Joshua it took strength and courage to fulfil the law, and he needed to study the law and think about and ponder it in order to accomplish what he was asked.  God tells him not to be afraid or dismayed, and basically promises him some back up.  That he will always be there to help.
I think that our lives can also benefit from this advice given to Joshua.  It does take strength and courage to stand up for God's law, and to stay obedient to it... or to repent and return to obedience.  It takes guts and bravery and it can be scary and overwhelming sometimes to do as God asks, and to risk being mocked, or to take the step based on faith and not sight.  But, as God promised Joshua, so he has promised each of us.  As we draw near to God, he will draw near to us.  He will help us with anything we face, and all things will work together for our good as we are righteous.
Today, let us be strong and very courageous, that we may act on what God asks of us.  That we will be true to God's values.  That we will put his will first in our lives.  Let's study the law, and think about and ponder it.  And let's listen to God and let him in when he wants to hang out with us.  Let's be worthy of that blessing.

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