YOUR FAVORITE VERSE

JOSHUA 1:9

COURAGE.  Courage is what the Cowardly Lion lacked.  Courage is what Joshua would need and God would supply.  God commanded Joshua to embrace courage in Your Favorite Verse for today.  READ JOSHUA 1:9

 

Why would Joshua need courage?  Moses, his mentor had died.  Joshua would need courage to overcome his dismay and his grief and carry on with life.

 

Joshua would need courage because God tapped Joshua to succeed Moses as the leader of the nation of Israel.  Joshua would have to follow Moses.  Those would be some huge sandals to fill!

 

Deuteronomy 34:10-12 says this about Moses-“Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land.  For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.”

 

Moses was a once-in-a-lifetime leader.  Moses was revered by the Hebrews.  Moses’ face would be the only one carved on Israel’s version of Mt. Rushmore.

It would take courage for Joshua to follow in Moses’ footsteps.

 

Joshua would need courage to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land.  At this point in their history, the nation’s population would be approximately 2 million people, roughly the population of Houston, Texas.  Up until this point, the Hebrew people were not people of great faith.  The inexperienced Israelites had never gone where they were going to go, and they had never faced the challenges they would face in the land of Canaan.  It would be a monumental task for Joshua to lead his nation.  This would require courage.

 

Joshua would also need courage because the foes in the Promised Land were quite formidable.  The Israelites would have to go up against the Perizzites, the Hittites, the Canaanites, the Amorites, and all the other ITES.  Those are just odd sounding names to us, but they were names that struck fear into the hearts of the Hebrew people.  Joshua would need courage to face the enemies they would encounter and lead the nation into battle.

Yes, Joshua needed courage!  How about you?  Your foes aren’t named Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, and Perizzites.  Your enemies go by different names-disease, debt, divorce, discouragement, despair, depression, confusion, anxiety, fear.

 

You might feel like the little boy in the airport.  He and his family were headed on vacation.  They were late catching their plane. His dad told his family to hurry and follow him.  He started a sprint through the airport to get to the boarding gate in time.  Mom was matching her husband stride for stride.  The boy’s two older brothers weren’t far behind their parents. 

 

But the little boy was only five-years old, six at most.  He tried to keep up, but his legs were so short.  It didn’t help matters that he was dragging a pint-size Mickey Mouse carry-on bag. Nor did it help that the airport was crowded. He tried to match his parents’ pace, but he just couldn’t.  Finally, he just gave up.  He plopped his bag on the floor, sat on top of it, and shouted in the direction of his disappearing family, “I can’t keep up!”

 

Can you relate?  Sometimes the challenges are just too much.  You want to keep up.  You try with all your might.  But, at some point, you just don’t have any fight left in you.  Sometimes life has a way of sucking the life right out of us.

 

Like Joshua, you need courage.  Like Joshua, you can have courage.  God will supply it.  You don’t have to be like the timid Lion from Oz.  You can be strong and courageous. Joshua’s story outlines how we can receive courage from the Lord.

 

READ JOSHUA 1:1-9.  Being courageous begins with this……

 

1.LEAN ON THE PRESENCE AND POWER OF GOD

 

God promised Joshua that he would be with him.  God promised to never leave nor forsake him.  God promised Joshua that as he was with Moses, so he would be with him.

 

The promise of God’s presence was important for Joshua to hear.  Moses was dead and Joshua might have thought that he couldn’t carry on.  But God reassured Joshua.  Even though Moses was dead, He, God, was alive and would be with Joshua.  Therefore, Joshua could carry on.

Now the power of God accompanies the presence of God.  How else do you explain the walls of Jericho crumbling simply by the Hebrews marching around the city, shouting, and blowing on their trumpets?  The walls of Jericho fell by the mighty hand of God.

 

Like Joshua, we need to lean on the presence of God.  And we can.  The promise that God made to Joshua, God has made to us.  He is with us, and he has promised never to leave us nor forsake us. Someone said that courage isn’t the absence of fear.  Rather it is the presence of God.  You can be courageous when you realize that God has promised to always be with you. You won’t be facing your problems all by yourself.

 

Now, as you lean on the presence of God, lean into the power of God.  Ephesians 1:19-20 speaks about the power of God that is within us:

 

and his incomparably great power for us who believe.  That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 1:19-20

 

Did you catch what Paul wrote there?  The power that raised Jesus from the dead resides in you!  You have resurrection power.  Power that will resurrect your life.  That should instill courage and confidence in us.

 

God’s presence and power is a game change.  His presence and power alter the score in our favor.    After all, pain does not plague God.  The economy does not faze him.  The weather does not disturb him.  Elections do not define him.  Diseases do not infect him.  And death cannot claim him.

 

 God has resources that we don’t have but he makes them available to us.  Don’t measure your life by your ability.  Measure it by God’s. 

 

Even though you cannot forgive, God can.  Since God can, you can!

Even though you cannot break that bad habit, God can.  Since God can, you can!

Even though you can’t face your fears, God can.  Since God can, you can!

Even though you can’t control your temper or control your tongue, God can.  Since God can, you can!  Philippians 4:13 says:

 

“I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.” -Philippians 4:13

Don’t say, “I can’t” when God can.  God will empower you to do what you have to do; to face what you have to face; to get through whatever you are going through.  God’s presence and his power will give you the courage you need.

 

Courage comes as we lean on the presence and power of God. We also receive strength and courage as we……

 

2.LISTEN TO THE WORD OF GOD

 

When God commanded Joshua to have courage, he commanded Joshua to remember the Book of the Law, the law of Moses that God had given to Moses.

Courage would be instilled in Joshua’s heart as he read the Bible.

 

Joshua had the Bible, all the Bible that was available to him at that time.  He would have had the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and a portion of Deuteronomy.  The scrolls containing the Books of the Law would be carried within the Ark of the Covenant.

 

Joshua was to listen to the Word of the Lord.  God told Joshua to not let the Word of the Lord depart from his mouth.  He was to keep God’s word always on his lips and he was to meditate upon the Word, day and night.  It wasn’t enough for Joshua to possess the Scriptures.  The Scriptures would need to possess Joshua.

 

God’s word to Joshua is his word to us.  If we want to be courageous people, we need to be people of the Word.  We need to open our Bibles and read it.  Colossians 3:16 directs us…..

 

“Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly…..” -Colossians 3:16

 

Do you have a wealth of God’s word in your heart?  The only way that will happen is if you read your Bible.  God told Joshua to meditate on the Scriptures day and night.  That would be a good practice for you and me.  To read a portion of God’s Word in the morning and again at night.  Start your day and end your day in God’s Word.

 

Not only should God’s Word be a part of spiritual DNA, but we need to allow God’s Word to be THE authoritative word in our lives.  God told Joshua to do everything that was written in the Law of Moses.  Joshua was not to turn aside from its commands.  He was to be completely obedient to the Law of the Lord.

 

Likewise, we need to be completely obedient to God’s Word.  We can’t treat the commands of the Bible like a buffet.  When you go to a buffet, what do you do?  You take the foods you like, and you pass over the foods you don’t like.  You say yes to steak and no to liver.  You say yes to green beans and no to broccoli.  You bypass the fruitcake and grab a slice of cheesecake.

 

We can’t approach the commands of the Bible that way.  You can’t obey only the parts of the Bible you like.  Partial obedience is disobedience.  We have to obey the parts of the Bible that are more difficult for us to do.  We have to love our enemies, turn the other cheek and forgive.

 

When we do listen to God’s Word, the promise God made to Joshua will hold true for us.  We will be prosperous and successful.  Now when we see that word prosperous, we immediately see dollar signs.  But the Bible definition of prosperity isn’t that narrow.  God’s definition of prosperity is wider than ours.  Biblically, prosperity often dealt with the wealth of the spirit, the mind, and the body. Courage would definitely be a part of the prosperity that God gives us as we listen to and obey his word.

 

In Mark chapter 4, Jesus told the disciples let us go over to the other side of the lake.  So, they all piled into the boat.  As they were going across the lake, a furious storm blew up.  The disciples were fearful for their lives.  Jesus was sleeping in the stern.  The disciples woke Jesus up and said, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”  Jesus calmed the raging storm and then he asked his timid disciples-“Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?”

 

What was the source of the disciples’ fear?  Was it the storm?  No.  It was the fact that they did not take Jesus’ word to heart.  Jesus had said that they were going to the other side of the lake.  He did not say that they were going into the middle of the lake to drown.  Jesus had declared the outcome, but when the storm came, the disciples heard the roar of the winds, and they forgot the word that Jesus had given them.

The storms of life will come our way; the winds of doubt, trouble, and fear will howl.  It is then that you have a choice to make.  Will you trust the promises of your Savior, or will you listen to the noise of the storm?  Taking God’s Word to heart will instill courage within our hearts.  That courage will help us to face and weather the storms of life.  Jesus made us this promise:

 

“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” -John 8:32

 

The truth of God’s Word will give us courage and will set us free from fear, anxiety, doubt, and discouragement among other things. 

 

Courage will be Yours in abundance as you lean on the presence and power of God; as you listen to the Word of God and as you……..

 

3.INHERIT YOUR INHERITANCE

 

God promised Joshua the Promised Land.  God told Joshua that he would give it to him.  God told Joshua that every piece of real estate that Joshua set his foot upon would be his. 

 

God said, “I will give you the land.”  He did not say, “I might give you the land.”  According to God, the real estate transaction on the Promised Land was a done deal.  The Israelites closed on the Promised Land before they even set foot in it.  The deed had already been transferred to them.  Joshua was sent, not to take the land.  Joshua was sent to receive the land that was his.  God had guaranteed it.

 

Therefore, when the Hebrews faced their enemies in the Promised Land, they did not fight for victory.  They fought from victory. Their victory and conquest of the Promised Land was certain.  The victory was the Lord’s.  They had already inherited their inheritance.  All they had to do was to receive it.  And they did.

READ JOSHUA 1:10-11

 

So have we.  We have already inherited our inheritance.  I’m not speaking about heaven, although heaven is a guaranteed inheritance. 

 

The Promised Land is not a metaphor for heaven, although many take it that way.  But the symbolism doesn’t translate.  In heaven we will have no enemies.  In the Promised Land, the Hebrews faced at least 7 enemy nations.  In heaven, there will be no battles to fight.  The Hebrews fought at least 31 battles in Canaan.

 

The Promised Land doesn’t represent the life to come.  It represents the victorious life we can have in this life.  As the Hebrews were victorious in the Promised Land, so we can live a victorious life today.

 

In his book, Glory Days, Max Lucado tells of having lunch with a man who was in midlife misery.  The man described his life with words like stuck, rut, and stalled out.  The man’s a Christian.  But he couldn’t tell you the last time he defeated temptation or experienced an answered prayer.  Twenty years into his faith he fights the same battles he was fighting the day he came to Christ.  He felt disengaged and discouraged. 

 

Does that describe you and how you are struggling in the Christian life?  It doesn’t have to, for God has given us the resources we need to live a life of victory.  Look at these verses with me.

 

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” -Ephesians 1:3

 

“God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness.”

-2 Peter 1:3

 

God has given us every spiritual blessing.  He Has provided us with every resource we need to be victorious.  We too can fight from victory instead of fighting for victory.  God has already given us the victory.

 

God invites us into our Promised Land today.  Our Promised land isn’t a physical territory.  It is a spiritual reality.  It’s not real estate.  Rather it is a real state of the heart and mind.  Our Promised Land is a Promised Life.  Romans 8:37 promises…

 

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” -Romans 8:37

 

Our Promised Land is a Promised Life where we don’t lose heart.  It is a Promised Life where we are exceedingly joyful in all our tribulations. It is a Promised Life in which we are anxious for nothing.

 

Our Promised Land is a Promised Life that is defined by  grace, refined by challenges and aligned with a heavenly calling.  It is a Promised Life where we forgive as quickly as we are offended, and we give as generously as we have received.  Ours is a Promised Life where we say no to sin and yes to godliness.

 

God invites us to enter the Promised Life.  He wants us to inherit the inheritance that is already ours.  All we have to do is to receive it.  We just have to believe it.  All we have to do is move forward in faith just like Joshua did.  The apostle John wrote that the victory that has overcome the world is our faith.

 

It is when we take God at his word that our hearts will be filled with courage.  It is when we move forward in faith that we will experience the victorious life that God has already given us.  Let us not live defeated any longer.  Let us be victorious by the grace and the power of God!

 

PRAYER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contact Us

Lebanon Christian Church

409 Yorktown Road

 

Newport News (Lee Hall), VA 23603

 

Phone: 757 887-5536

 

  

CCS #8003



 

Graded Classes
Nursery - High School
Sunday 9:30 AM
Adult Bible Fellowships Sunday 9:30 AM
Morning Worship Service Sunday 10:45 AM

Children’s and teen Bible School will resume in September.

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