God heard the cry of his people Israel and raised up a man by the name of Moses to deliver the people of Israel after experiencing 400 years of enslavement by the Egyptians. While travelling to the Land of Promise, the Land of Canaan, God had heard enough of the grumbling and complaints of the Israelites. In short, they distrusted God to provide for them and take care of them through this life. And for that distrust, God doled out a punishment that entailed 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.
But, lest we think God’s punishment was too much for them to bear, let’s not forget that many miracles took place in the wilderness, which were magnificent expressions of God’s love. Take for instance, the fact that the Bible teaches us that their sandals never wore out, daily manna and quail were provided, and the necessary water was given them when needed in a barren wilderness! And yet still the cry of complaints ascended to God’s throne.
When the 40 years came to a close, Moses died shortly before the people entered the Promise Land of Canaan. So, God raised up another faithful man by the name of Joshua. Now, Joshua was a commander in the Lord’s army and so he was well-trained to enter the battle field, which entailed experienced fighters with fortified cities inside of Canaan. And who did Joshua have at his side? Well, let’s just say, less than adequate fighters! The people of Israel had only known slavery for 400 years! And this is why God came to Joshua and reinforced his beautiful promises of grace before entering the battle field. We read from Joshua 1:6-9 “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
They say, “Repetition is the mother of all learning,” which is exactly what God does with Joshua – repeats the promise of his protection again and again. God knows that by human standards Joshua had every right to be shaking in his boots, but because God is in control of all and every situation, he wanted Joshua to know that he had nothing to fear, whatsoever, but had every right to be “strong and courageous.”
What was true of Joshua is also true of you and me, no matter the circumstance or trial that confronts us. “If God is for us, [and he is], then who can be against us? For he who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31,32)
Blessed day to all!
Pastor Matthew P. DeNoyer