by bobby williams
I love the book of Joshua in the old testament of the bible. It is by far one of my favorite books to read because I can see so much parallel of Joshua, the Israelites and our church.
The book of Joshua picks up after Moses has died and leaves Joshua to be the leader of the Israelites. They are about to enter into the land God had promised them with Joshua leading the way for the first time. Joshua was not a new leader but it was the first time he was the guy in charge. Israel was about to step into a place of new beginnings, new challenges and new dangers with a new leader.
From day 1 of our young church’s history, I have felt like this was us.
Just over 7 years ago, I had never been a lead pastor. I had never planted a church. Besides playing sports and eating a lot of food, I had never spent much time in Oak Ridge. When I felt God calling us to plant a church in Oak Ridge, to be honest, I was really scared.
But I remember reading Joshua chapter 1 not long after we knew we were planting in Oak Ridge. And remember verses 3-9 in particular…
3Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. 4From 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. 5No 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. 6Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. 7Only 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. 8This 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. 9Have 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.”
There were 4 things that stuck out to me that I think can be of encouragement to each one of us:
God has already given us victory
God tells Joshua that every place his feet touches, he has already given to him. That’s strong! Let that be a reminder to you that God is for you (Romans 8:31) and has already given you the victory (it just may not look like the victory we expected)
God will be with us and will not leave us
If there is ever a warm blanket to the soul to wrap up in, it’s this promise; that our God is with us and will never leave us alone. No matter what it is you are up against, going through, or about to face, He is right there with us.
Listen to His voice, do what he says and we’ll have success
Following Jesus (#follow series starts Sunday!) is all about listening to His voice, and to the best of our flawed and imperfect ability, doing what He says. And when we do, we will have success. But that success isn’t always getting the raise, the job or the miracle comeback- the success is that we could never go wrong in honoring God and that makes us prosper, regardless of outcome.
God is with us wherever we go
The last part is important because of the what comes next in the rest of the book of Joshua. Soon after this, the conquest of the land begins and God asks the people to take some unknown, scary and dangerous steps. But with each step, He reminds them again and again, he is for them, he is with them, he has given them victory, he will not leave them; and to just listen to his voice.
I’m often reminded of this for myself, for you, and for our church; that regardless of what happens next, God has already given us victory because he is with us, he is for us and he will not leave us. But it’s hard to remember that if we’re not hearing His voice to remind us of that.
For today’s prayer, take a few minutes to just pause and let God speak to YOU. Turn off your music, put the phone down and on silent, and spend a few minutes LISTENING. Take a moment and ask the Lord to speak to you and show you the next victory.