Monday, November 7, 2011

Joshua's Strength

There were so many lessons in the book of Joshua-it was hard to read in just one week! I felt like I was trying to drink water from a fire hydrant (or however that saying goes). I have to remind myself that I’m reading differently to see differently. But oh how I wanted to stop and savor every lesson in the book of Joshua!

Here are just a few of my favorite Joshua moments:

Chapter 5: Joshua sees someone he doesn’t recognize. Quickly rises up to confront him, to defend his nation. Soon he recognizes this is no man, it’s an angel of the LORD (preincarnate Christ). He is quick to his knees in humility, quick to worship, and quick to obey.

Chapter 7: He confronts disobedience and the sin of Achan, which led to defeat and death of many Israelites. He responds with quick judgment (stoning him and then burning him, yikes!) so that the name of the LORD is not profaned.

Chapter 10: Joshua cries out to God for help in battle and God answers in a miraculous way-causing the sun to stand still until the nation of Israel took vengeance on their enemies (v.13).

Chapter 18: He confronts and challenges the tribe of Benjamin, calling them into action to go and take what the LORD has promised them! What have you guys been waiting for??? Go get your land!

Chapter 24: Just before his death, he calls them out one last time. Now that the people of Israel know and have experienced God’s faithfulness to His promises . . . a question, a final challenge: So who will you serve? "As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (24:15)

Joshua is a man of action, intention, and great fear and love for the LORD. Joshua was quick to obey, quick to lead, quick to defend, quick to confront, quick to worship, and quick to point others to God’s faithfulness. But, if I am not careful, I’m quick to exalt Joshua rather than the LORD.

Remember chapter 1? The LORD kept telling him, be strong and courageous, do not be afraid.

"Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 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." (1:6-9)

Kind of makes me wonder . . . perhaps maybe Joshua in his flesh was scared, afraid, weak. Makes me think that it was his obedience and faithfulness that made him strong, a man of action, fearless. It was confidence in the LORD, strength from HIS might that made him the man of battle.

So not only do I learn to be a courageous leader, a defender, protector, worshiper from Joshua . . . I learned that in my weakness, the LORD is made strong. When I obey, when I listen, when I am faithful to the One who is named “Faithful and True” (Revelation 19), I will prosper, I will have favor, I will have success.

Not in Joshua’s own strength, not in my own strength, but in YHWH’s.

"For the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught." (Proverbs 3:26)

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might." (Ephesians 6:10)

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