For the next little while, I’ll likely be regularly posting some thoughts from the book of Joshua. There’s no particular reason why, but it seems like a good thing to do. Hopefully you’ll find something that speaks to you about whatever part of ‘the journey’ you’re on.
The first chapter of the book speaks very clearly to Joshua about an impossible situation he is facing; and there’s a lesson to be learned for all of us who face impossible situations…
I was on the phone with a good, good friend of mine the other day. We were talking about the potential for his family to be facing a very difficult reality regarding the health of a family member. For them, the situation can best be described as ‘impossible.’
A few weeks ago, I visited another friend for the last time before Lou Gherig’s disease cruelly, finally took his life. His journey was impossible. His family now faces the impossible situation of ‘moving on’.
My wife and I are still waiting for God’s direction regarding our next step. Our financial-career-family situation seems impossible.
In Joshua 1, the book’s namesake has been instructed by God to cross an uncrossable river (at flood stage), with an ‘army’ of people who don’t have much experience by way of battle in order to a conquer a land full of inhabitants so fierce the last reconnaissance mission into the area brought most of the spies back in fear for their lives and futures. The situation is impossible. In preparation for this impossible task, Joshua—-now filling the shoes of one of the greatest leaders in history (and that’s not hyperbole)—-has a conversation with God. What God demonstrates to him has a great deal of wisdom for those of us facing our own rivers to cross or lands to conquer:
REMEMBER GOD’S PROMISE.
God tells Joshua three times “be strong and courageous.” Repeating something three times is Scripture’s way of HIGHLIGHTING something important. God clearly, passionately tells Joshua (and us) to not be afraid. Couched within this exhortation is a phenomenally important passage of scripture:
As I was with Moses, so I will be wit you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
It seems Joshua, in the midst of the impossible, will find strength and courage is in holding onto a simple but profound promise-—As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. As I was with the one who came before you, I will be with you. As I was with the one who led my people through seas and deserts, so I will be with you. As I was with the one whom I showed my glory–the one who saw me, so I will be with you.
Joshua’s strength and courage wasn’t to be found in his own personal ability to lead, cross, and conquer. It was to be anchored in the promise of God’s presence and faithfulness.
This is where our own strength and courage must be found. The promise made to Joshua is also ours if we are in Christ: God himself is with us and will not fail us—
I took you from the ends of the earth,
from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
For he will deliver the needy who cry out,
the afflicted who have no one to help.He will take pity on the weak and the needy
and save the needy from death.
He will rescue them from oppression and violence,
for precious is their blood in his sight.
2 Cor 4:8-10:
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
…surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
These promises are found throughout Scripture for those who belong to God–those who have become objects of his mercy in order to bring him glory.
Whatever you are facing, feast on the promises of God, and there you will find his Spirit ministering strength and courage to your soul.
He is with you.
And he will not fail you.