Three times in Joshua 1 God says to “be strong and courageous” along with “do not be terrified, do not be discouraged.”
I take great comfort in those words, because it meant Joshua was prone to weakness, lack of confidence, freaking out and despair.
What was God’s answer for Joshua? It was to be careful to obey the book of the law (God’s Word), to meditate on it day and night.
Somehow God was going to “Father” Joshua through His Word. Interestingly, that sort of fathering produced direction and “stopping points.”
A powerful aspect of fathering is to provide healthy stopping points. I was watching my grandson a few weeks ago walk over to the “gate” by the laundry room which marked a stopping point. He just stood there with that look “Can you see me? What will happen if I climb over this gate? (something he has been trying) What are you going to do about it?”
Sadly, many parents remove all “gates” (stopping points) and allow kids to run rampant. The logic is “You can make the right choices… Do whatever you want so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else… Whatever brings you the most benefit is most important… You are the center of the universe…” We fail to realize every child innately tests boundaries in order to determine where the shoulder of the road lies, and the ditch. Seeing and experiencing the boundaries brings peace and rest.
Yes, some may have experienced stopping points with no love or even abusively. But that doesn’t make strength wrong, it underscores the need for it to be expressed through love and conviction over what is right and good.
Back to Joshua, imagine his daily meditation on God’s Word being the stopping point and the launching point for His conquests.
We hear many messages on being humble and caring for others.
Sadly, we hear very few messages on strength and courage, or other verses like the following:
Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13
King David’s final words to his son Solomon before he died
“So be strong, show yourself a man…”
1 Kings 2:2
I’m hoping as we travel through Joshua we’ll see and experience more strength and courage! And I’m praying as a local church community we’ll experience more of God Fathering us through His Word!