Monday, 16 July 2012

Be Strong and Courageous

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. 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.” Joshua 1:5-9 

This was the memory verse 187 people all memorised last week on TeenStreet. Over the past few weeks many people within our congregation have faced different challenges. From sickness to grief, from destruction to uncertainty; there have been big trials to be faced. In many ways we stand like Joshua did, before a land flowing with milk and honey, but filled with giants who need to be overcome. Through Jesus we have been given peace with God, our own spiritual promised land. Yet because we still live here on earth we face trials and giants of many kinds.

That means there is great comfort to be had from our camp memory verse. For all the days of our life God is with us, and nothing will be able to completely overcome us. The battle against giants may be hard, but God promises us he will be with us, and if he is with us we know that eventually we will be victorious. Our responsibility is to be ‘strong and courageous’. We’re told that three times just in these verses—and why shouldn’t we be strong and courageous!? If God’s promised no one will be able to stand up against us, shouldn’t that give us all the strength and courage we need.

Yet as humans (and we see it especially in the example of Israel throughout the books of Exodus, Joshua and Judges) we forget God’s promises so quickly. We see the giants, or their walled cities, or whatever trial it is you are facing. And very quickly we forget God’s promise as they appear overshadowed by the struggles we face. We act scared and timid instead of strong and courageous. However, this memory verse gives us the answer to our human reaction. Joshua is told to meditate on the Word of God day and night. When we find ourselves meditating (not simply reading) the Word of God we are encouraged again and again by His promises. It is much easier to remain strong and courageous when you are constantly focusing on the promises God has made, and the examples of what God has done.

Serving God is the way to be ‘prosperous and successful’ - following His ways is always best - even amidst what seems hard to bear. So whatever you are facing this week, be strong and courageous, follow God and prosper!!

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