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Joshua challenges God's people to be strong

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Today’s bible study is Joshua 1:9: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

The Book of Joshua contains many interpretative challenges that might seem difficult to understand. Miracles always challenge us either to believe that God who created heaven and earth can do other mighty works too, or to explain them away. As in Moses’ day, miracles in this book were a part of God’s purpose, such as: His holding back the Jordan’s waters, the fall of Jericho’s walls, the hailstones and the long day.

Other challenges include: How did God’s blessing on the harlot Rahab, who responded to him in faith, relate to her telling a lie? Why were Axhan’s family members executed with him? Why was Ai, with fewer men than Israel, hard to conquer? What does God’s sending the hornet before Israel mean? These questions are all answered in the Book of Joshua.

In order to understand this more fully, let us look at Joshua’s preparation for ministry. There are some excellent clues to answers to be found here. Joshua led the vicious battle against the Amalekites. Joshua, the servant of Moses, accompanied the Jewish leader to the mountain of God. Joshua was the attendant of Moses from his youth. Moses changed his name from Hosea (salvation) to Joshua (the Lord saves).

Joshua, along with Caleb, spied out the land of Canaan with ten others. Only Joshua and Caleb urged the nation to possess the land and only they actually entered Canaan. Joshua was indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Joshua was committed to spiritual service for the first time, to assist Moses. Joshua followed the Lord fully. Joshua was commissioned a second time, to replace Moses and Joshua was filled with the spirit of wisdom.

Our verse today speaks of the Lord being with us. This assurance has always been the staying sufficiency for God’s servants such as Abraham, Moses and his people, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Christians through the centuries. It is this assurance that we, today, take comfort in and trust in.

Lord, help us to be strong and of good courage that we might serve you more fully. Help us to not fear or be dismayed, but to know that you are with us always. Be in us, O Lord, beside us, around us and above us each step of our journey and each minute of our lives. May we, like Joshua, be your faithful servants and continue to grow in your holy grace.

References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock and The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur.

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