This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do. Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua now stood, in place of Moses, with the nation of Israel before the land of Canaan in a place of trial, a place of uncertain future coupled with conflict that was certain. It is in this context that GOD’s words, above, are spoken. Today, consider these three aspects of this passage to pray through and apply to our lives:
1. God reassures “Do not be afraid or discouraged”.
Moses had led Israel out of slavery and a seemingly bleak situation to the brink of the promised land and into the prosperity of a nation living as designed in the fullness of a right relationship with Yahweh. Moses had brought the plagues upon Egypt, parted the red sea and received the word of God on Mount Sinai. Rather than rely upon the reassurance of an earthly leader, the Israelites are urged not be afraid or discouraged by their creator God.
Challenge: Are there areas in your life where you look to rely on what habit, culture or peer pressure dictates as reassurance, rather than looking to our God?
2. God instructs.
Israel, like us, exhibited a persistent tendency to rebel, complain and question the promises and provision (remember the Mannah!) of their God as they were led through the wilderness. This was despite clear, indisputable evidence that God was directing them. His book of instruction, which we are urged to make a critical part of every day, is designed to lead us into the life, and all its fullness, that Jesus speaks of in John 10:10. We are urged to seek and obey in His word rather than seek to self-direct a path.
Challenge: Do we rely upon the word of God in the way that we are commanded to? I.e. placing its importance as the imperative described in Joshua 1:8? What do you let get in the way of relying on the word of God to direct and speak to you (Is it the Torah or Twitter/Instagram or the Inspired message of GOD?)?
3. God's presence is with us.
The Lord is with us wherever we go. The Israelites faced what they may have perceived as an insurmountable task. Joshua stood with Israel before the land of Canaan – just a Jordan away from God's promise. However, they also knew they were on the brink of war. Hence, God's promise of His presence must have been a huge reassurance. Similarly, we continually face struggles: exams (especially at this time of year!), relationships, employment / work situations or mental / physical health difficulties.
Challenge: Take your situation – whatever the case, context or our personal narrative (positive or negative) – and thank God for his presence with us. Positively acknowledge, whether we can perceive emotionally or not, that it is a 100% true, irrefutable fact. Do not let Satan suggest or deceive you otherwise.