1. Strength and Courage: Joshua
Christians boldly join Jesus in his work by living in light of the victory that was secured on the cross.
"No one will be able to oppose you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not desert you nor abandon you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them." -Joshua 1:5-6:
At the beginning of the book of Joshua, God is about to bring his people the Israelites into the Promised Land. It’s in the first 5 books of the Bible that we learn of how God promised this land to Israel’s forefather Abraham, rescued the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt, and led them on a journey through the desert. Now, at last, as we see in this book, they have reached their destination.
But the Promised Land is not uninhabited. The current residents are extremely morally corrupt. God cannot turn a blind eye to this evil, and he also doesn’t want the Israelites to be corrupted by the sin of this land. His purpose for them is that they would show the world the goodness and flourishing that comes from living obediently under his rule. For these reasons, the Israelites must engage in a series of battles against the current residents and drive them out of the land.
God makes it clear that the people are to move forward in reliance upon him, and he instructs them to march around the city of Jericho until He brings down its walls. Inheritance of the land is not dependent upon the military strength of Israel but upon God’s power. God tells Israel’s leader Joshua he can be strong and courageous as he leads the people, assured that God will be victorious.
True to his word, God gives the Israelites victory at Jericho, but the battle isn’t over. God wants his people to depend on his power, continuing to push back against the evil around them and live holy lives for him.
Unfortunately, the Israelites forget about God’s power. They stall out in their mission. Eventually, they fall into the same practices of idolatry and immorality as the original inhabitants they were called to drive out. But the battle has not been lost.
Jesus came to complete God’s mission by conquering sin once and for all on the cross! He established God’s kingdom, a kingdom made up of believers from all nations. Jesus doesn’t conquer through military battles, but instead, he establishes his reign with his Word and Spirit through his people! Because of this, Christians get to join in Christ’s work to bring his kingdom to earth as it is in heaven.
God’s victory is certain: he is going to save people, and he is going to heal and restore us and our world to perfection. To battle in faith means to live in light of this victory that was secured on the cross!
This looks like sharing the good news of what Christ has done with others.
It means displaying God’s victory over evil by bringing restoration into the world: in the way we choose love and forgiveness in our relationships; in the way we meet the needs of those who are hurting; in the way we use our gifts to be a blessing to our community.
And it means we walk in this victory by defeating sin in our personal lives as we depend on God’s power to do so!
RESPOND: Reflect and ask yourself, “Am I living with strength and courage, in dependence upon God’s power? In the way I share the Gospel? In the way I live missionally in my work and community? In the way I’m fighting sin in my life?”
If there are parts of your life where you feel like you are losing the battle, remember that you are not fighting by your strength alone! Take a moment to go to Jesus for his victorious power.