The LORD said to Joshua, “Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, and go over this Jordan, you and all this people … as I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you…. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be dismayed; for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
What an enormous responsibility to place on the shoulders of any man.. to be told to lead all your followers into the jaws of certain death. But the command was spoken to Joshua by God, and reassurance was given to him. Success was guaranteed.. verbally – through the Word of God – for the Lord, Himself spoke to Joshua.
Every Old Testament story presents New Testament truths – spiritual truths. What was done in the physical realm is to be translated into the spiritual realm. Paul tells us to: “mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample,” in Philippians.3:17 . The Old Testament stories of Israel were to become New Testament examples to the church, so that we should live godly lives, “lest anyone fall, according to the same example of disobedience.”
We don’t fight physical Goliaths, for our foes are spiritual forces – our enemies are armies of principalities and powers in the heavenlies. We don’t ford flooding rivers, nor take armies in dangerous lands or march round walls of stone. But the battle in which we are engaged in is none the less tangible. Ours is a spiritual battle, engaged in the invisible realm with the unseen forces of evil. Every Old Testament example pointed out one towering truth… The Lord your God is with you – I will not fail you nor will I forsake you.
Physical courage may be admired – but it can sometimes be foolish. Spiritual courage when battling the unseen enemy is truly what counts. That inward strength does not come from pumping up your own nerve. Spiritual bravery is not resultant on displayed heroism or gallant deeds. Spiritual boldness is displayed in men and women, who place their trust in God and look to Him, for deliverance. It is people who will stand amidst the crumbling circumstances of life and cry.. I know in Whom I have believed.
Many people look to the cross of Christ and see a torn and broken man. A man - broken, mocked, despised, rejected. Many see Christ as an apparent failure in His earthly walk. They see Him stripped of life and devoid of friends – hanging naked.. dying on a cross. Yet in that life there resided wondrous courage – supreme bravery – a great and mighty victory. Yes indeed, when you survey the wondrous cross, you see a true example of great and mighty courage.
There was one requirement in the physical realm as there is one requirement in the spiritual. Trust the Lord – Have faith in His Word – Believe what He says and do it. When we trust in His word we carry out His instructions without dispute.. even when confronted with a wall of opposition. When we have faith in God’s word we fulfil His command.. even when logic screams the opposite. When a man or woman believes unquestioningly what He says.. they will unhesitatingly step into the realms of the unknown.
I have always loved the poem that Kipling wrote called “IF” – It speaks of courageously keeping your calm when all around are losing theirs. It talks of trust when others doubt; waiting when others give up. It talks of being hated and being lied about without resorting to retorts – about meeting both triumph and disaster with equal resolve. It talks of being able to hear the truth about yourself – twisted and falsified, without resorting to trying to justify yourself….“if you can watch the things you gave your life to broken, and stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:”…”If you can lose, and start again at your beginning, and never breathe a word about your loss…”.. Oh yes, I found great comfort in Kipling’s “IF’.. for through its verses a father gives his son the criterion of a real man.
But how much more.. when we stand on the brink or our Jordan should our trust be in His Word? How much more when we view the looming obstacles of our own fortified Jericho, should we stand on the truth of God’s promises? How much more should we, who are God’s blood-bought children, pay heed to His instructions? How much more should we pay attention to our heavenly Father’s instructions in our own spiritual battles? How much more should we accept God at His word? When in our heart we can truly say ‘God is my courage…” then we have confidence – quiet confidence and unshakable strength that He will enable us in all things.
He will strengthen with His power to enable us to face all situations of life… He will give us the heart to step out into the unknown – fearless in Christ’s victory. Go, child of God.. go and step out into today’s unknown.. in His strength and His courage. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed; for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. ” Thanks be to God who gives us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ
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