Be strong and courageous!

After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant:  “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites.  I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.  Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. No one will 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 never leave you nor forsake you. 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.

Joshua 1.1-7a

Taking over the leadership of a great concern is a daunting prospect even when one has worked closely with the outgoing leader for many years and in Joshua’s case it was perhaps even more daunting as his first task was to lead God’s people into the promised land. Something for which they had been waiting for the past forty years!

So in the opening of the Book of Joshua we find God’s instructions and promises as he took up this great task.

Moses my servant is dead – Humanly speaking he was now alone without Moses on hand so in modern parlance ‘the buck stopped with him’

Now get ready to cross the Jordan River – there was an immediate job to do. He could not sit back but had to take action at God’s command.

I will give you every place – He was not on his own. This was God’s promise to equip and encourage him and there was more!

As I was with Moses so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

In the light of this he was commanded v.9

‘Be strong and courageous, do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go’

A command with an accompanying promise.

There is much we need to learn from this handover of leadership.

As each generation passes there is a baton to be passed on to the next and that baton is the gospel. If you are reading this today as a believer then while you live you are carrying that glorious baton, which you picked up as you came to faith in Christ and which you will pass on when God calls you to glory.

But carrying the baton is not a passive thing. We are to be strong and courageous which implies that the task we have is not easy. How strong and courageous do you feel today?

In the face of Covid – are you isolating in fear or trusting God to keep you as you step out as restrictions ease?

In the face of apostacy in the Church – as whole denominations defy God’s word in issues of sexuality and marriage – are you tempted to agree and go along with such for the sake of a quiet life and for fear of being called as bigot? Or are you drawing on the strength and courage that is a gift from God, to stand firm and witness to God’s truth?

In the face of a world that has pushed God out of national life – are you drawing on the strength and courage that God provides to stand firm as a believer?

Remember the trustworthy saying that Paul shared with Timothy (2 Timothy 2.11-13)

If we died with him,
    we will also live with him;
 if we endure,
    we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
    he will also disown us;
 if we are faithless,
    he remains faithful,
    for he cannot disown himself.

and step out today in the power of the Holy Spirit – strong and very courageous.

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