Posted December 31, 2012
9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
These words were spoken by God to Joshua after Moses died and he was getting ready to lead the wilderness wandering Israelites into the Promised Land. It was to be a season marked by war, adversity, death, learning to trust in God’s promises & presence, as well as living according to God’s law given through Moses. God commands that Joshua “be strong and courageous”. It’s not a suggestion, or advice, but a command. In fact, God issues the command 3 times in chapter 1 of Joshua (verses 6, 7, and 9), so apparently He wanted to get His point across. He knew how difficult things were going to get for the Israelites, and how weak and discouraged Joshua was going to be. He wanted these words to ring in Joshua’s head and spark hope in His heart. Joshua was to be strong & courageous, not in his own strength & courage, but rather in God’s strength through the knowledge that God was with them wherever they went. God wasn’t saying, “Be strong and courageous, and good luck out there! I hope your strength is strong enough!” God was rather saying, “Be strong and courageous because I am with you! You are weak, but I am strong. You are fearful, but I am faithful.”
The point for the Christian remains: Whatever God has called us to do, His presence with us provides the strength in our weakness to get the job done and accomplish His purposes. Christians are never left to their own devices! In the New Testament we learn that God sent His only Son Jesus to take on flesh, dwell among us, die on a cross for our sins, was raised from the dead three days later, and now sits enthroned in heaven. Jesus, like Joshua, came to lead a sinful people out of their spiritual wandering and lead them into a spiritual Promised Land of salvation and God’s kingdom & rule. Jesus sent His Spirit to dwell in those who put their trust in Him, giving them a new heart & a new birth, empowering them to live out His commands and calling. He is truly Emmanuel, God with us. He is not absent, but in knowing our frail frame, comes with great strength to empower us. Do you feel frightened? Remember Christ is now seated at the right hand of God in power and authority. If you’ve put your trust in Him, you have nothing to fear! He who is in you is stronger than he who is in the world. Do you feel dismayed? Remember Jesus was forsaken on the cross that you might have life and life abundantly. In your weakness, He is strong. His grace is sufficient for you. Be strong in his strength, and be courageous in his courage.
This week’s song was written by Loud Harp (http://loudharp.com/), tracked in Oklahoma City by Dustin Ragland, and mixed in Lafayette, CO by David Wilton. You can listen to their album here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/loud-harp/id535498742. It’s also available as a free download on the Come & Live site: http://www.comeandlive.com/CLD/LoudHarp/download.html. This week’s artwork was created by Darren Hudson, a graphic designer out of north London. You can check out his work here (http://instagram.com/thehudson).