Friday, October 8, 2010

Joshua 1, 2, 3 Be Strong and Courageous

An interpretation of the borders of the Promis...Image via Wikipedia

Just imagine that you are about to receive a monetary award or prize, that you have desired for a very long time.  In fact, it is something that you have wanted for so long that its fulfillment began to appear unlikely.  And when it happens, you are almost afraid to believe that it is true. Sometimes people are afraid of getting the very thing they yearn for most because they fear losing it or getting hurt somehow through it.   “Can this be real?” you might ask yourself as you anxiously dare to believe the hoped for event might be happening.

Israel left Egypt forty years earlier and maybe they were afraid to believe that they were really going to enter into the land of Canaan.  Of the hundreds of millions of Israelites who wandered throughout the desert, there were probably many who didn’t really understand how God was acting on their behalf; there were probably many who were frightened to change anything about their lifestyle; there were probably many who joyfully anticipated entering into the Promised Land, the land of Canaan.  But because God admonishes Joshua to be strong and courageous four times in the first chapter, I am inclined to believe that he was told to be strong so that he could give strength to the apprehensive and frightened nation of Israel.

Strong and courageous here, as in Deuteronomy, connotes being steadfastly minded and determined; rooted in God’s Word so thoroughly that nothing you see, with your eyes, can change your mind about the certainty of the spiritual truths that God proclaims.  It seems that God was essentially telling Israel to focus on His Word and to cling to His promises; He promised to take care of the rest.

In that vein, God also admonishes Joshua in Joshua 1:8Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.”  Depart is an interesting word.  It generally means to leave, to go away.  The next phrase is an admonition to continuously think about God’s Word. 
Here, Israel was given a method to discover the impact of God’s Law on life.  If Israel were to discuss God’s Law throughout the day, their intimacy with the Law would take root and grow.  If God’s Word departed from their mouth, it would indicate that it left and then vanished from their spiritual awareness. 

As Israel prepared to enter Canaan and conquer the denizens of the land, they had to be close to God, reviewing His Word; discussing His Word; thinking about His Word; acting on His Word; trusting in His Word. 
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