"This is my command--be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9
This morning the Women's Spring Bible Study begins at CCEA. "Living Fearlessly In The Land Of Promise." Three times (verses 6, 7 and 9) in the first Chapter of Joshua God commands him not to fear. Then, at the end of the chapter, the people of the tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh admonish Joshua to be strong and courageous.
Why would God repeat that command so many times? Joshua had the promise, as Moses before him:
"I promise you what I promised Moses; 'Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you--from the Negev wilderness in the south to the Lebanon mountains in the north, from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, including all the land of the Hitites.' No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you." Joshua 1:3-5
Joshua was about to lead the children of Israel into the land God had promised them. He promised them. God is faithful. He keeps His promises.
It wasn't going to be easy. They were heading into a land filled with suspicious people. In many cases the land itself was hostile to their settlement. It would have to be worked in order to sustain them. They would need to be on guard against the world. They would need to trust God to keep His word.
What has God called you to? What is your land of promise? He has given you a path to walk and His words remain the same. "Be strong and courageous...do not be afraid or discouraged."
When we are afraid--when we are discouraged, what is missing?
"...Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey eveything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do." Joshua 1:7-8
Don't misunderstand me. These people were under the Law of the original covenant. We who belong to Jesus are under the new covenant of Grace. If we follow Jesus' commandments to love God with our whole heart, mind, and soul and love others as ourselves, we will fulfill the commands of the first covenant. We can't love God with all that is within us and truly love others as we love ourselves and then covet what they have, gossip and slander their reputations, and all the fleshly attitudes Jesus tells us to put aside.
"Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you." Ephesians 4:31-32
Just as Joshua was instructed to study the Book of Instruction so he would prosper and succeed in all that he did, we need to study and meditate on God's written word. His words are life to us. His Word reveals His character to us. They reveal His commands for holy living. They reveal His desires for us. And, as we study them, God's Holy Spirit becomes stronger in us. He not only shows us the truth, but He gives us the ability to walk away from the desires of our flesh nature and put on the righteous nature of Jesus. He gives us the power to follow after truth.
May the Word of God become more important to us this year. And may we each find that, as we draw near to our loving Father, all fear and discouragement disappears.
by Marilyn Allison