strong and courageous
SCRIPTURE: Joshua 1
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. [Joshua 1:9]
I can see why Joshua would be scared.
He is following Moses, the greatest leader Israel had known.
He is leading the nation to conquer fortified cities, skilled armies and large soldiers.
Israel consists of a hodge-podge of former slaves that wandered the wilderness for 40 years.
How can they compete with the armies, soldiers and fortresses of Canaan?
His only assurance – that God is with Him.
Apparently this is enough!
Do I see my calling as the same as Joshua’s or as Israel’s?
To enter a foreign, fortified environment and take on the powers of the land?
To do this with the hodge-podge thing called ‘church’?
And with the only assurance that God is with us?
Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’ [Matthew 28:18-20]
The parallels here are crucial.
First of all, Jesus is our Joshua, we are God’s people.
He has been entrusted with the authority to lead us.
He is strong and courageous.
His teaching is the key to success and prosperity.
The promised land for us is the whole planet, and all nations.
We do not fight with physical weapons, but our warfare is very real, a spiritual battle.
We need to be strong and courageous too.
But through it all we have the assurance that the Lord is with us… and that is enough!!!
Here I am in Ajax.
I am feeling the call to get out of the ‘church’ in order to be the church, to enter into the land and engage the people.
To overcome my fears and speak with people, to share my faith, to share the good news message of Jesus.
And to mobilize the people of Crossroads to do the same.
Let me be honest, this is getting scary for me.
I have worked within the safe confines of ‘church’ for too long.
The ‘what ifs’ of stepping out of my comfort zone are huge.
But not stepping out is not an option.
So I need to heed God’s words to Joshua, and Jesus’ words to me: Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. [Joshua 1:9]; And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’ [Matthew 28:20]
Lord, I am getting more scared as I think about it. This is good, it will make me rely more on you than on myself.