Sunday June 3, 2012
Our grandson Joshua joined the thirty-something generation last Saturday, and I prepared this devotional for the birthday celebration.
"Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers 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. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; 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 terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
What’s in a name? For most people today, nothing—as long as they like it and it sounds nice. Not so for the Israelites, names had purpose and direction, and for whatever reason your name was chosen, it may have special meaning for your life. Remember, Joshua is the westernised version of the Hebrew: Yeshua, Aramaic: Jesus, and English: Deliverer or Saviour.
I cannot predict how that will work itself out in your life, or what Jerichos you will come up against. But I do know that the advice given to the original Joshua, as he faced his term of leadership, is as relevant today as it was then—for all of us, but today, particularly for you.
Note particularly, three times in this short passage, the Lord directs Joshua to be “strong and courageous.” First, the Lord points out Joshua needs these qualities because he is responsible for the people he is leading; any lack of courage on his part can leave them in danger. The problem for him, and, of course, for all of us, is lack of strength.
So the second and third references give the source of strength and courage; in fact the greater part of this passage, verses 7 and 8, is devoted to it: full obedience to the law, and constant meditation on it, which will give Joshua prosperity and success.
However, Christians no longer keep the law for fear of retribution, but as a response of love and gratitude for Christ’s rescue from its curse. The law, given by our Creator, reflects the optimal conditions for fellowship with Him, spiritual health, and success in our God given calling.
Finally, in a fourth injunction not to be terrified or discouraged, the Lord promises to be with Joshua constantly; which is just as well, because like us, he would fail in maintaining that full obedience and meditation.
Life is hazardous. Being a Christian often makes it more so. Thus the need for strength and courage: strength to pursue our calling despite the obstacles we face, and courage to face the dangers we fear. After all, courage is unnecessary in the absence of fear.
We, Nan and Gramps, together with others, are encouraged by your commitment to the Christian faith, your intensive investigation to understand the faith, and seizing opportunities to express it through various forms of media. Continue in the way you are going and you will fulfill the promise of your name: Joshua. Our love and prayers go with you through the next year and beyond.