Be Courageous (Joshua 1:1-9)

After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’s assistant, saying: 

“My servant Moses is dead. Now proceed to cross the Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the Israelites. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and the Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, to the Great Sea in the west shall be your territory. 

No one shall be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. 

Be strong and courageous, for you shall lead this people to possess the land that I swore to their ancestors to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to act in accordance with all the law that my servant Moses commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, so that you may be successful wherever you go. 

This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to act in accordance with all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall be successful. I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (New Revised Standard Version)

Freedom came to the ancient Israelites; they were delivered from their cruel Egyptian bondage. Then, they wandered through the desert for forty years; and, after the death of their leader Moses, were poised to enter the Promised Land. 

However, it was going to be no cakewalk. There were pagan peoples entrenched in the land. It would be a huge feat to conquer their territory. Joshua, the young aide-de-camp of Moses, now leader of the people, would be the one to go before them in battle. Understandably, Joshua was likely nervous, maybe even downright scared. 

So, the Lord came to Joshua. God told him to be strong and courageous, to not be afraid to claim the divine promise of the land. 

The path to success for Joshua – as well as all God’s people – is not by the physical sword but by the sword of the Lord, the Word of God. 

The Lord was plainspoken about the need to intimately know the Law given to the people and to continually meditate upon it. Being careful to do everything written within it, Joshua would find both the courage and the wisdom to lead the people to victory.

It still remains true for all God’s people that faithful knowledge, sage wisdom, and careful adherence to Holy Scripture comes through meditation upon its contents. 

There is a great need amongst believers to continually ruminate on God’s Word. We live on a broken planet, filled with all sorts of adversity, hardship, difficulty, and challenge to living a committed spiritual life. And so,

we may sometimes wonder how to address and deal with it all; our problems might seem as large as taking the Promised Land. 

The place to begin is by going to the Word of God – not so much in an anxious, hasty, or impatient question-and-answer sort of way which looks for a quick response; but instead, in a slow, deliberate, contemplative way. 

Lasting and genuine spirituality, as well as a sense of settled success, comes not only through acknowledging the importance and integrity of Scripture; one must know it’s contents, and allow it’s wisdom to saturate the soul through consistent and continual meditation.

Scripture memorization is a discipline worth pursuing. Having large chunks of the Holy Bible in our minds and hearts helps us in the crucible of challenging situations and adverse circumstances. 

What’s more, when doing the everyday pedantic and tedious work, we can engage our minds in the practice of contemplation on those verses we have committed to memory. Meditation on God’s Word is a necessary practice if we want to have success in living a genuinely well-rounded life.

Courage and meditation are a package deal. Bravery and contemplation are meant to be wed together. One rarely comes without the other – which means the realization of our good dreams, for both us and the world, needs the practice of Scripture meditation.

God Almighty, my delight is in your law, and on it I meditate day and night. (Psalm 1:2)

O how I love your law! It is my meditation, my food and drink, all day, every day. (Psalm 119:97)

I will meditate on your precepts and honor your ways in all I do and say. (Psalm 119:15)

I am determined to lift my hands to your commandments, which I love; and I will meditate on your statutes. (Psalm 119:48)

I look forward to the wee hours of the night because it provides me the space and the quiet to meditate on your word. (Psalm 119:148)

In fact, I meditate on all your doings through both day and night; I ponder and consider the works of your hands. (Psalm 143:5)

Amen.

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