Much of my initial thoughts were covered in Carly’s prompts the first time around.
Chapter one is quoted frequently in Christian circles (probably Jewish circles too). Sometimes I’ve taken this charge to “be strong and courageous” as a challenge to muster up all my gumption in the face of danger. This isn’t quite the case, though.
“No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.” (1:5-6)
The charge to be strong and courageous rides on the heels of a promise. Joshua can walk boldly, because the way has already been paved.
This makes me think of hiking up river beds, which is not actually walking, but jumping from rock to rock. It’s scary and there’s always the danger of slipping, or a rock being loose. This isn’t the type of terrain the LORD is leading Joshua into. He’s not saying, “be brave, because slipping is probable”, He’s saying, “you can be sure of your footing, because I’ve laid a freshly paved way ahead of you. Walk boldly!”
This requires faith, when you know you’re waltzing into occupied land, but as Rahab confirms to the spies, a way has been paved. Everyone on this side of the Jordan is already terrified.
When we first started reading the Bible together, Carly and I would always email each other a “promise to claim” and a “sin to avoid”. Having all those promises stacked up certainly strengthened my faith.
Faith isn’t a strength or courage which must be mustered without a basis for assurance. Our faith is built upon promises, as Abraham’s was a response to the LORD’s promise to make him a nation. Faith is believing the LORD when He makes a promise.
Much of the reasons we fail or lose steam on resolutions is because we’re running on our own promises to ourselves. What has God spoken to you? What has He emboldened you to move forward on? What promises can you claim from today’s passage?