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JANUARY 14, 2024


JOSHUA 1:1-9

The transcript below has been slightly edited to make it easier for reading.

Father, we do pray now and ask You to bless the reading of Your Word, the meditating of it, because Your Word is what tells us about who You are. As we reflect on who You are, it encourages us to trust You as You have asked us to. Father, as we turn to Your Word, we ask that You might reveal it to us so that we might see more of who You are and truly rely on every word that You have given to us. Thank you for this time together. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

I'd like us to turn to Joshua 1, we're going to read the first nine verses. You're going to need your Bible as we discuss the series in Joshua, because we're going to read some very long passages. Usually we do like four or five verses in a pop, but with Joshua we're going to read sometimes whole chapters. You're going to need to have your phone or your Bible out so that you can turn to it as we discuss this series. Joshua 1, let me read for us verses 1 through 9: 


After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' assistant, “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

When we read this passage, a couple words that certainly jump out to me is that at the end of verse 8, he says that he will make your way prosperous and make everything successful. I think if we ask the question around us, “Do you want a prosperous life? Do you want a successful life?” that is something that each and every person on the face of the earth is hoping for. “How can my life flourish? How can I enjoy a good life? My upbringing wasn’t good, my career prospects aren't good, and my love life is really in the in the pits right now.” 


When we read that God has a plan to make you prosper and successful, and we try to match it with the reality of our life today, we often find they don't match up. This leads me to a question that I want us to meditate on today. It's a very simple question, but I think it's a very profound question that I think the Lord is asking each and every one of us, “Will you trust Me?” God says, “I have a plan. I have a way. I have something I'm working on in your life.” 


Today you might be sitting here wondering, “How will it ever be able to be accomplished?” That's secondary to God. The big question in God's mind is, “Will you trust Me when I tell you that I will make your way prosperous? Will you trust Me when I tell you that I have a plan and a purpose for your life and I am fulfilling it? Will you trust Me?” When we look at what does it mean to be an unshakable Christian, how you and I can walk and live in a world that is at at odds with the Gospel, I think it really bodes that we answer this question, “Am I going to trust God or not?” 


In our passage today, there's just two things that I want us to focus on. The first is God's promises, the second is God's presence. God answers the question, “Can we trust Him?” by saying, “I have promised and I never lie.” I want you to think about those promises, meditate on them, and consider them. Then God says, “I am with you - My presence. My promises and My presence.” You think, you consider, and you look at the track record of God, and it gives you something logically that you can wrap your mind around. But His presence brings this all home to your heart.


Religion is not just some concept that you think about, neither is it just some mystical experience based on what you ate for breakfast today. Our faith is a combination of the two. It's based on logic, truth, and knowledge. That’s why in many ways, Christianity is a reading religion. It requires us to read the Scripture in order to learn so that we can meditate on who God is. 


But it's not simply a religion like the Pharisees had made it into - a religion of doing, following, and obeying the rules. Learn and then obey - that's just a dead religion that nobody wants to be engaged in. But our faith is one in which the Spirit makes it alive. God's presence is with us. How do we know His presence is with us? Because we feel it. There's thinking and there's feeling. 

The world today might say, “Secularism! It's all thinking, no feeling.” But we're Indonesians, all we do is feel. Everything is based on how we feel. “Which way do we turn? I feel the right way is to go left.” We don't consult, we don't check what's true, we don't phone a friend - all we do is we feel. 

Scripture is asking us to do both. If you're basing the answer to your question, “Can you trust God?” based on your feelings, your feelings are going to disappear. Your feelings aren't something you can root yourself in. There are going to be days you are so excited to be a Christian, and there's going to be days that you think, “God hates me.”

But when you're based on thinking that is married and merged to your feelings, you begin to realize that God has drawn near to you and has revealed Himself to you so that you might be able to answer the question, “Can I trust You, God? Can I trust You with my marriage? Can I trust You with my career? Can I trust You with my children? Can I trust You?” 

God's Promises Spur Us to Act

So let's look at these two themes. First of all, we see here in verses 1 to 4, that God says these promises to us in order to spur us into action. God wants us to realize that every single promise that He has given will never fail. If that's true, as we think about the truth of that statement that God's promises never fail, it should cause you and I to want to do something. Our thinking and meditating on what God has told us, causes us to rise up and act. 


As we read through Joshua 1, it talked about, “going and taking this land,” and, “every place the sole of your feet will tread, those places I will give you.” Why? Because God had promised it. He had promised it to Abraham, He had repeated it to Isaac, and He had repeated it to Jacob. Even at the end of Jacob's life, when he's in Egypt, he’s promising it to all his children, “When you go into the land… When you take this land that God has given you…” It's all about this land. 

God has promised. You can't separate what’s happening here in Joshua 1 with what God had promised 600 years earlier to Abraham. When God promises He will do something, when God has promised, they're not ancient promises that just go in a file and hopefully one day, maybe, something will happen. But they are promises that apply to us today. 

I think it's important for us as Christians to realize this because we live in a world that is headed towards the end times. We must also realize that the promises of God will be faithfully fulfilled by God as we move towards those end times. So we look at how God's promises spur us to act. 

The first is that we see God's Word moves us to rise up and meet the challenges that we’re facing. You and I need to realize that our life is full of these challenges. We face them because we know that God has fulfilled everything that He's already promised. 

The context of Joshua 1 is given to us: after the death of Moses. This is the context. The death of Moses is significant for many reasons, but one in particular is because God had promised the generation of Jews wandering around in the wilderness that, “Not a single one of the people over the age of 20 will set foot in the Promised Land, because they wouldn't trust Me.” Now, the entire generation has died off, and the only ones left from that generation is Joshua, Caleb, and Moses. Joshua and Caleb were told they could go in the Promised Land because they believed God when the other spies didn’t. However, Moses didn't honor God in the face of Israel when he struck the rock twice. So Moses was forbidden from entering the Promised Land. 

God has some housekeeping to do. God needs to take care of all the things He said He would do. Everything negative and positive that God has promised will happen. All of these people have to die before they could enter the Promised Land. And that’s exactly what's happened. The whole generation has passed away, and now Moses has also passed away. Moses has died and here they are standing on the banks of the Jordan River. Now that Moses is gone, God can fulfill His promises. God's Word moves us to meet these challenges because we see that God does exactly what He told us He would do. He never skips or forgets the things that He's promised He will do. 

But we also see that God remembers His covenantal commitment to us. Every time we see Israel struggling to fulfill the will of God, we recognize that Israel doesn’t know and can't perform the way God wants them to. They continually find themselves on the precipice or edge of failing, the edge of extinction. When this happens, God keeps turning away His wrath by remembering His covenantal promises to Abraham. 

The Jews have been brought out of Egypt to the foot of Mount Sinai. Moses goes up in the mountain, into the cloud, and it's terrifying and scary. Only Moses and Joshua are allowed to go up in the cloud. While they're up there, because they're gone for 40 days, down below the Israelites have made false idols. This is amazing to me. They had just seen these miracles that God did in Egypt and the way God freed them from all the problems. God led them out of Egypt into the desert headed towards the Promised Land. The power of God has been manifested over the Egyptians. The minute Moses is away from them, the minute he's gone, they go and make an idol. It's amazing to see how quickly they can turn away from God. 

As they’re up on the mountain, Moses and Joshua, and down below the people are worshiping an idol, God says, “Look at what's happening. I'm done with these people. I'm going to wipe them out.” At this point, Moses says, “No, You can't do that God. People are going to say things about You. ‘Oh, You could bring them out of Egypt, but You couldn’t fulfill Your promises.’ For Your name's sake, You need to do this.” God says, “Don't worry, Moses. I'm going to make you a great nation.” Moses says, “No, blot out my name.” Moses attaches himself to the Jews and to their future. He says, “If you are going to destroy them, destroy me as well.” But we see that didn't happen. 

God continued to be faithful towards Israel because of this covenantal love. As God passed before Moses on the mountain (in Exodus 34) and announced His name, He said, “The Lord is gracious. The Lord is loving. The Lord is kind.” You see this covenantal love of God expressed towards His people. We know that God's Word is something you and I can hold onto because God has bound Himself to us with a love that cannot be changed. 

We also see that God is faithful to His promises because He's provided for us an additional leader, a new leader. He said to Joshua, “My servant is dead, now go. Arise, go over the Jordan. Stop being dismayed. Stop being depressed.” It's a very important thing here that we realize that God is the one fulfilling His promise. It doesn't depend on Moses. There might be a raging river called the Jordan between you and the fulfillment of that promise. It might be that you don't think your army could ever step in, conquer this land, and take over. You may think that God's promise is all related to that one person who said, “Let me be destroyed with them if You’re going to destroy them.” But God says, “My promises stand because they are My Word. My Word will always be fulfilled.”

When you and I now step into this world and we struggle with the reality around us, “Can I believe? Can I trust God?” The first thing we look to is that God's Word, His promises, doesn’t depend on the person, the situation, or on any of us. His promises and their fulfillment depends on one thing, and one thing alone. God has promised. Believe it! 

We also see that God's work does not depend on great men. I already mentioned that Moses, the servant of the Lord, is now dead. Israel is sitting there thinking, “What are we going to do? It's hopeless! When Moses was gone just for a few days, we couldn't even be faithful to God. What we going to do now? The only leader we've known for a generation, for 40 years, he's been taken away.” 

How often do I get the question, “What’s going to happen to the church after Reverend Tong passes away?” I keep thinking, “Have you read your Bibles? When I read my Bible, it says, ‘Moses the servant of the Lord is dead. Now get up, start working.’ Why? Because the fulfillment of God's promise doesn't ever depend on a great man or a great woman.” 

It's a lesson I think many of us in ministry need to realize. God's work doesn't depend on me. God's fulfillment of the Great Commission is happening, not because of great servants, but because God has promised it to happen. God's sovereign work can never be stopped. God's sovereign work doesn't have breaks to it, where it will cease to work. God's work will always go forward as we step out in obedience, believing that He will work through us. 

Thirdly, we see that God's will is accomplished despite the opposition. In verse four, he starts to list this wilderness, “Lebanon, the great Euphrates River, the Hittites that are in the middle of it, the Canaanites that are also on your land, and there's all these people squatting on the land that God's already given you the title to.” There are people who have done a home invasion on the land of Israel. 

In Indonesia, if you don't put a fence around something, pretty soon there will be a warung there. If you don't have a tall fence, pretty soon someone's going to be opening a bengkel there to to fix tires. Pretty soon, there’s going to be a big fruit stand, a big night market, and the land will be taken over. 

It's what's happened to the land that God has given Israel. Squatters have built shacks and homes, and they're living there. They have started families, dug wells, have settled down, and it seems impossible that Israel could ever step in and defeat them. “They have big cities and thick walls. We can't even cross a river!” But remember, God’s will is accomplished despite the opposition. 

When Israel was surrounded by the Assyrians and they had no food so they're all starving, God says, “Don’t worry about that. Tomorrow, the price of bread will be so cheap you can't make any money selling bread.” Overnight, despite the greatest army who is starving you out, God can change the situation. 

I don't know what your situation is today, but God's will is unstoppable. God's sovereign plan is unstoppable. He's doing this in your life, making this known, that He is a God who fulfills His promises. We know that, why? Because God's way is accomplished by His power. We see that we can realize this overwhelming resources that God has given us. We can tap into these resources that God has offered to us - not just a promise, but He's saying, “Arise, go and do it, because I will work in and through your situation.” 

Let me pause here and ask, what is the situation in your life today? Israel, at the banks of the Jordan, staring down the city of Jericho with its great walls, knows that if they try to get across the river, they will be shot up. If they do get across the river, there's no way this city is ever going to fall in their hands. They know their situation is impossible. Yet God says, “That's your land. I'm going to give it to you. Your leader’s gone? That's not a problem. Your army is small? That's not a problem. You don't have weapons? Not a problem. I am going to do it.” 

What does this mean for your situation today? Are you struggling? You don't know where your life is headed? Seems like everything that God had created you for is running into roadblocks? Today the promises of God are speaking in your situation. The promises of God are speaking to you today, where you are, saying, “Trust Me because every word that has come out of My mouth is true. If it's true, I will do it. Don’t worry, you can relax in knowing that you are in the will of God.” God's Word, God's work, God's will, and God's way is all accomplished because God has sovereignly decreed to make it happen in our lives. 

God's Presence Assures Us of Victory

God's promises spurs us to act, but we also see that God's presence assures us a victory. God's presence is given to us because even though we think we understand these promises, it's not enough. We're humans, we're emotional beings. As emotional people, as we think and reflect on what God has told us, we need some sort of sense that it's true. God aligns what we're thinking with our feelings so we can go forward together in this. 

God says to them repeatedly, “Be strong and courageous.” He's going to say it three times in this chapter to them. “Be strong and courageous.” Why? Because they’re always struggling both to believe the promises and that God is with somebody like them, that God would ever want to be with someone like them. Be strong. Continue to grow in the strength. Be courageous. Be immovable. Unshakable.

It's interesting, “courageous” in the Greek translation of the Old Testament (called the Septuagent) is translated as “act like a man.” Isn't that interesting? So our women all get a free pass on this one, right? Act like a man. Be courageous. When there's a challenge that's out there, you and I can step out in courage and act because we know that we don't go alone. 

My heart's been grieving as I've been reading about wave, after wave, of Russia's attacks on Ukrainian defensive positions. They give soldiers with little training and prisoners guns and they say, “Go and attack these lines.” Wave, after wave, with no protection, no air cover, no proper training, and no defenses. They're sent out and they're all mowed down completely. It's terrifying. It's heartbreaking to see hundreds and thousands of young people your age being killed in such a terrible manner - in such a meaningless manner. They go out there and are willing to die for something because of a fear that behind them is another man with a gun. If you don't go, they’re going to shoot you in the back. 

The difference for us is God says, “Go. Step forward. Move forward, not because God is sitting in the back with a whip or with a big spear prodding you to move forward. It's because He's with you. He is going together with you.” 

We read in the New Testament of the word parakletos, the Holy Spirit. Para means together with you, like "parallel". God is going with you through the Holy Spirit as you go into this life. As you go into your situations, He is together with you. He is not just sending you out there as cannon fodder, but He will be with you always.


God's presence is the one that is making us immovable. He's the one making us unshakable. He is the one that is helping you move forward into the problems that you face, to experience the victory that He wants to give you. He does this by asking you to be courageous. You and I are courageous because God will not leave us.


Despite the fact we live among enemies, God is also living there with us. God is with us. Joshua is being told to arise and go into this land. God tells him where the people are and what's there. What's interesting is Joshua knows this firsthand. Remember, he was one of the twelve spies 40 years earlier sent out by Moses. They had gone in this land and seen everything. They came back and brought the the produce of the land: grapes, nuts, and fruits. 

The report from all twelve was the land was everything God said it was. There was milk and honey. Everything you'd want is in this land. The problem is, there was also something they didn't want in this land: giants. Huge people, behind huge walls. Terrifying! Ten of the spies said, “There is no way we can ever take this land.” But Joshua and Caleb said, “We can do it because God will fulfill His promise.” Joshua knows firsthand what's on the other side of that river - he has seen it with his own eyes. So when Joshua says, “Let's go because God will be with us,” he knows the greatness of the challenge. He knows the presence of our enemies. 

When the Bible speaks to us, it doesn't speak just a bunch of words of encouragement, “Come on, you can do it! You can't do it? Don't worry, everything will work out.” The Bible is not just a bunch of pep rally talks for you. It's not a bunch of things that's just saying, “Come on! If we think positive thinking, everything will turn out fine.” The Bible is a book that's based on reality. That reality starts with a very simple fact: those guys over there, they're big giants. He didn't just say, “They were strong. They had big cities.” He said, “They're big giants.”

In America I meet these really big guys. I think, “This guy could crush me, break me in two with his bare hands.” I see these guys I'm like, “He could just *snap* and I'm done.” I always felt kind of intimidated in America because in America I'm average or below average height. 

Then I come to Indonesia, and I'm like, “I feel so much better.” Here I'm skying over some of you. It’s like, “Can you reach up and scratch my kneecap?” Some of you are “height challenged”, as you would say in America - otherwise known as “short.” I can't imagine imagine what happens when some of you, who are shorter than me, meet some of these giants from America. 

I don't know if the Jews hadn't been eating well in Egypt, maybe they didn't grow and they're those short people. Maybe the people in the land eating grapes, fruit, and everything all day long with the milk and honey, their bodies have just grown taller. Maybe it's like somebody from Nias meeting somebody from America who's been eating steak their whole lives and they look like giants. 

God knows what your enemy is like. We are not saying the problem in your life today is easy to solve. Don't hear me say that. God isn't saying, “Your enemies are nothing.” Your enemies are strong. Your enemies are powerful. What God is saying is that, “I am with you amid the presence of your enemies.” That's what we need to hear today. That's what we need to hold on to today. When our enemies are present, so is our God. Our God is greater and our God is stronger than those enemies around us. 

We also see that we can step into that because our covenantal God's presence is now with us. We recognize in Joshua 1:5 he says: 

Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you

God won't leave you. God is with you. He has promised us, “I am with you. I will not forsake you.” 

This isn't the first time those promises were made. Those promises were made to Abraham. Those promises were made to Jacob when he was told to go down to Egypt. God says to him, “I will go with you to this land.” God is always with us. God has covenanted Himself. He has promised to be with us always. When we're in the midst of struggles, what we need to hear more than anything else is just simply, “Listen to the voice of God, ‘In the midst of your enemies, I am with you.’” 

Abraham has heard these words, Jacob has heard these words, and we see that Moses had heard these words as well. In Exodus 3, Moses said to God, “How can I go down? What can I do with Pharaoh? I can't do anything.” God says, “I am with you.” Moses couldn't believe he could defeat a superpower - and he couldn’t! 

You are probably looking at your problems today going, “I can't do it. I can't defeat this.” God says, “You know what? You're right. You can’t. I am with you. You can have confidence I won't abandon you. I won't loosen my grip on you. I won't let go of you for one million second. You are in My hand and I will not let you go.” 

We also see that the presence of God is with us until the end of the age. It’s not just a promise for Moses, it's not just a promise for Joshua, but it's also a promise that's given to all of us. At Pentecost, this promise was fulfilled. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon believers. Every one of us, when we accept Christ in our lives, the Holy Spirit comes into us and God's presence is in us, with us, and will never be away from us. You and I step forward confidently in this world, facing our crisis, struggling to see God work, but knowing that He is with us. He has found Himself faithful to us and we need to find ourselves faithful to Him. God's presence amid all our changing circumstances. 

We need to hear God continually say, “I am with you and I will be with you always.” But it doesn't just end there. He also goes on to tell us that we don’t just become courageous because of His presence with us, but we also find ourselves to be strong because we are in tune with who God is. I find these two things going hand in hand: God's presence and our obedience. When you and I are in sync with God, when you and I are doing the work and will of God, we find His presence is there. Our hearts are in line with Him, we move forward together, God overcomes our enemies and God gives us victory. 


Again, the context here is that they are being told to rise, go across a river, and invade a land. You would think that if you’re about to be told to go and take a land, what you would be told is, “Here are your battle plans. Here's your strategy. This is how you're going to do this. This is what you're going to do here.” But that's not what God tells them. God says, “You are going to go into this land, you're are going to fight these giants behind walled cities, and you aren't going to need any weapons. Why? I am with you. All you have to do is one thing: do every word that I've commanded you.” He says:

do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left

Do it all! In order to be strong, you need to be 100% obedient

God's presence is there, but so often in our lives we short circuit His power. We rob ourselves of the peace He wants to give us in this situation because we live in sin. We rob ourselves of the joy that He wants to give us amid our suffering because we choose to rely on ourself instead of Him. But when you and I focus on His law with 100% obedience (not partial obedience), you and I find something overwhelming takes place. We’re given strength to face our enemies, strength to stand up and fight them, and strength to be victorious from them. 

God says, “Do it all! Don't turn from it - not to the left and not to the right.” What’s really interesting and what I think in the church needs to hear in our generation today is that the Word of God is a whole council of God that needs to be fully obeyed. Today, we tend to think it's partial council - that we can pick and choose verses which seem appropriate for me, that our culture says they like, and we'll follow those and not follow the others. God's Word is complete. Don't turn from it - not to the left, not to the right. 

The difference is, God's Word is an objective standard. Our problem is we're feeling-people. We’re based on feelings. “Well, I’m nga enak. I don't want to say this because nga enak. I don't want to do this because I’ll hurt their feelings.” When everything's based on feelings, we then take this into our religious life. We say to God, “I will obey You when it feels good. When my feelings line up with what You want, I will do it.” If you reflect on the past week and pray, I bet that the sin you committed this past week was because of your feelings. 

I know when I drive, I often sin. Maybe some of you are patient, I'm not patient when I drive. The only thing I don't do is crash when I drive, but everything else I do. When I drive and I see people on my way driving slowly, immediately what comes out is anger. Why? Because I feel that they’re taking the spot that I deserve. They should get out of my way because I am number one and I deserve that. So I let them know with my horn. Then I drive by and roll the window down, and they think, “Was he Italian?” But I'm not Italian.


We think, “If I can express all these feelings, I'll overcome all my problems.” A lot of my sin is based out of these feelings I have because I'm not following God's objective standard. It's got to be based on what God has said is true, not what I feel is right. When you step in the presence of your enemies and you're asking God to be there with you to work through you, it starts by saying, “I will obey every single word. I will not turn to the left and I will not turn to the right.”  

Is that where you get your strength from? Are you getting your strength knowing that you are standing for Christ on the truth of his Word, and because you’re doing that, He will honor and give the victory? No detours, no better ideas, and no great strategies of your own. Faithful obedience to what He said. 

That also requires that we have 100% captivation by the God who draws near to us. He tells us to meditate on these Words. “Don't let it depart from your mouth,” He says in verse eight, “but you shall meditate on it all the day.” Why is it important not just to know and obey the Word, but to meditate on it? It's because if we're just obeying, it's not coming from your heart. 

God wants you to stare at the truth about Him from His revelation of Himself. God has said, “I will tell you who I am. I will reveal to you My very nature.” He's told us in His Word who He is with the intention that you will take it, read it, think about it, and you will stare at it. In doing so, you will see the God of that Word and you will love the God of that Word. 

It's like when my daughter got her engagement ring. You know how women are, when they get a diamond ring they suddenly walk around showing it off everywhere they go right? But not my daughter. She just sat there all day looking at her ring, not because the diamond was big (it’s not all that big). She sat there looking at it the whole time thinking, “He loves me!” 

That's what’s supposed to happen when you read your Bibles. When you follow the Word of God, you become 100% captivated by God. You see this what He's promised and how He fulfills it. You notice His character and you sit there thinking, “He loves me! Look at how He loves me! Isn't He amazing?” Then you look at your problem, and you go, “That problem's nothing, because God loves me. He has chosen me. He is my God.”


That leads us to have 100% trust in God, knowing that in all these things He will fulfill what He promised He will do. We study, we obey, we see the God behind it, and then it causes us to step forward and trust Him. In my devotions today, I read from Psalm 11:7. It says, “ the Lord is righteous, the Lord loves righteousness, and the Lord upholds those who do righteousness.” God, because He is righteous, is looking for people who will also do righteousness.  


Courage because of His presence and strength because of His Word marries together around this idea that God is with you. But because He is righteous, you need to also be righteous. He will uphold you, He will give you the victory. Why? Because we are seeking to obey, we are seeking to follow Him. 

We have courage because He's with us, we have strength because we're living according to His Word, and we know the more we are righteous the more I will know the righteous God and sense His presence. That will give me the strength to step into these problems and find the victory. Without that, there is no way Job could have suffered the way he did. Without that, there is no way Moses could have carried the burden of Israel for 40 years the way he did. Without that, there is no way that you are going to be faithful in all the trials that come your way. 

Faith, knowing that God is on our side and is working, allows us to move forward. This is why our Bible study is important. Why is it important as a church, that we become men and women of the Word? Because as we get into the Word, as we study the Word, we know the God of the Word. That will result in us having more confidence and feeling more of the assurance of God as we step forth in the world around us. 

God's Plan Guides Us to the End

Lastly, let us look at the plan that God guides us with until the end. In verse nine, I find it really interesting, He says: 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

We, as a church, need to hear these words spoken to Joshua because they’re very similar to the words spoken by Jesus to His disciples. 

Just as God spoke to Joshua and Israel, “Have I not commanded you,” so too Jesus gave us a commandment, did he not? What do we call it? The Great Commission. When Jesus rose from the dead, His disciples had been living with feelings that everything they had put their hopes in was shattered - even to the point where Peter denied Jesus three times once to a 12-year-old girl. Now Jesus has shown them that He has risen over the dead, and they are now floating, they are ecstatic, they’re all filled with this new energy and Jesus says, “I give you a commandment.” So too, God is speaking to Joshua and He says, “I have a commandment for you.” 


I find very many similarities between this commandment given to Joshua and Israel, and the commandment given to us. When I put them side to side, when I look at them together, I see this same covenantal promise of God being spoken to us. He says this, “Be strong and courageous.” Why? Because, “All authority has been given to me.” The only reason you can be strong and courageous in doing the mission of God is because He has given you His authority. 

Don't be frightened.” - “Go and make disciples.” Those are giants: people who oppose the Gospel, people who say, “Don't believe in Jesus. Jesus never rose from the dead. All rivers lead to the same ocean. It doesn’t matter. Believe whatever you want.” All the world is filled with giants trying to tell you things that are wrong. Don't be frightened. Make disciples. Believe what God has asked you to do. 

Do not be dismayed.” As you go out and start facing these giants, and you're looking at them, you go, “Oh no, I can't make disciples. I committed my life, I stepped out, I'm starting to do it, but now that I'm standing and talking to a giant, there's no way I can do this.” You drop your head in dismay and you say, “I can’t. I am powerless.” God says, “You are powerless, but I've given you My Spirit. Do what I told you. Go, preach the Gospel so they believe, are baptized, and then teach them so that they will obey and also make disciples. Just follow the instructions. Do what I've told you to do. Why? Because My instructions are giant-killers. My instructions make the walls come down. My Gospel is what will penetrate their hearts.”

For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Jesus speaks to us as church, “I am with you until the end of the age.” Do you believe this? Are you confident in this? God has promised us and God is with us. Let us rise up, church. Let us cross the barriers that are keeping us. Let us see our faith is unmovable and unshakable because it's rooted in the very promises of a covenantal God who has bound Himself to us throughout all eternity, and go make disciples. Do what He has commanded, because He has promised to work through us. 


Father, perhaps some of us today are feeling paralyzed by fear. Maybe some of us are feeling frightened because of these giants in the land. They're scary. There's no way we can face them. Maybe some of us have just been trusting in ourselves and not in God. Father, today we repent of these things and we ask that You might turn our hearts towards You, that we might hear You speak clearly into our hearts today, “I will be with you. I will not forsake you.” Father, help us answer the question today, “Can I trust you?” Let us ask this question now before You, Father, and let us hear Your words to us, “Yes! You can trust Me. I am with you. My power will never fail.” Father, thank You for not throwing us away at the time we sin. Thank You for not discarding us when we struggle with our with our emotions in this world. Thank You for being a God who continues to speak Your truth into our hearts. Help us to trust You. Help us to step forward with the assurance, knowing that You are our God and You are fighting our battles. Bless us. Use us, Your church. We pray in Jesus's name, Amen.

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