Resolute and Courageous - Joshua 1:1-9
One of the responsibilities of dads is to cultivate courage and valor in the hearts of their sons. It’s to raise them with spiritual and family leadership in mind. That’s where the looping starship enters my life. I was always a short kid, and it made me really insecure. So, I was a year or two behind most others in being able to ride the big rides at Six Flags. So, the year finally came, and I was able to do it. I’d always had my eye on the looping starship. It made these huge upside down swings, and then it just hung you there. But, when it was time to get in line, I got cold feet. But, my dad wasn’t going to let me off the hook. He employed two strategies to get me to face my fears and get on the looping starship. First, he went with shame. He pointed out all of the little girls that were riding, and he asked me if I was okay with them outdoing me. Then, he went with assurance. “Son, I would never ask you to do anything that would hurt you.”
The question became: Would I trust what my dad said, or would I trust what my heart felt? Would I do what I was too cowardly to do alone since he promised to be with me the whole time. This gets to the nature of courage as we see it in Joshua 1. Last week, we said that courage and faith are essentially synonymous terms. But, there is a difference. Courage doesn’t become courage until it’s acted upon. In other words, courage isn’t just faith; courage is exercised faith. Faith isn’t courage UNTIL it’s exercised and acted upon. Courage is to do the right thing in light of the possible costs because of what you believe. That is, Biblical courage is living like God’s promises are true and his presence is sure when it doesn’t look like they’re true and doesn’t feel like He’s near.
In Joshua’s commissioning to be Israel’s new leader and to lead them into the Promised Land, the chief charge that God gives to Joshua is to be courageous.
They’re going to be overmatched and outnumbered.
God has given his word and assured his presence.
The charge to courage was a charge to trust.
That means the charge has implications of having courage (headline).
That means the charge has implications of having courage (headline).
What courage looks like.
What courage leads to.
v. 7 “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.”
So, when we say that verse 7 implies that having courage results in living courageously, we’re seeing what courage looks like. Courage in the life of God’s people takes a particular shape. It draws a particular portrait.
Notice what God says.
courageous = resolute --- be resolute in the law of Moses.
Faith in the Bible is not just an emotional whim that you satisfy. It’s not about fits and spurts of obedience followed by abandonment and disobedience.
Faith is settled, determined obedience. It’s banking the direction of your life upon your confidence in God, when you feel like it and when you don’t, when it’s convenient and when it’s not, when it’s beneficial and when its costly. This is a call to steady, determined, resolute faith. It’s a call to not just say that you have courage, but to live courageously. It’s a call to obey what God has commanded, trust what God has said, and to go where God is sending you regardless of how you feel or what you see. It’s a call to go into the Promised Land where you are overmatched and outnumbered because God has promised it and God is with you.
Living, active, resolute faith is evidenced by a resolved, committed obedience to God’s word regardless of the potential costs to you as a result..
When you decide by faith to obey God’s word and to live by God’s promises when it’s convenient and when it’s not, when you feel like it and when you don’t, when it makes sense to you and when it doesn’t, you begin to understand how courageous and resolute are synonymous terms.
It’s courage when a newly minted, insecure leader lead his people where he is overmatched and outnumbered because God has said it. In the same way:
It’s courage when a young girl refuses the sexual advances of her boyfriend because she wants to obey God, even though it may cost her the relationship.
It’s courage when a young man refuses to join in with the weekend parties and locker room talk out of a desire to please God, even though it will cast him outside of his desire social circles.
It’s courage when an ambitious man leaves a profitable position at a growing company because he is seeking to live according to the ethics of the kingdom.
It’s courage when a mom doesn’t go into debt for a birthday party so that others will think she’s doing a good job.
It’s courage when you send your kids on mission trips instead of sport camps or to live in less house and look less successful so that you can impact God’s kingdom in a greater way.
To live a life of resolute obedience requires courage — the type of courage that can only come with sure promise of a guaranteed resurrection and the near, never departing presence of God. The type of courage needed to obey God in light of today’s social intimidation is the same type of courage that Joshua needed to overcome the physical danger of conquering the Promised Land.
Disobedience is always rooted in disbelief.
The belief that there’s something better than God.
The belief that there’s a better way than God’s way.
The belief that God may be holding back on you.
So, obedience, even when I don’t understand it, even when I want to go another way, even when I feel like it’s the wrong idea, is the lived out demonstration of your faith.
Comes with a promise: “that you may have good success wherever you go.”
Not, you’ll not face any opposition. Not, you’ll get a promotion and raise at every job you take. Not, you’ll never have to go to battle.
success = “may act wisely” — “that you ‘may act wisely’ wherever you go.” That is that you may live skillfully within the will of God.
One of the purposes of God’s Law is that it gives you the wisdom so that you can thrive within God’s will, regardless of where God’s will takes you. (in the wilderness or in the Promised Land, in times of peace and in times of conflict)
Psalm 119:97–100 (ESV) 97Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. 98Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me. 99I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. 100I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts.
Courageous, resolute obedience to God’s Law ensures that you will always succeed at God’s will for you, even if his will is for you to suffer and struggle.
v. 8 = ‘make your way prosperous’ = parallel promise = encompasses the idea of succeeding in suffering/struggle.
Joseph in Potiphar’s house/Daniel in Babylon/the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53
God’s Law gives you the tools and wisdom to honor God and thrive as a person regardless of where God’s will takes you or what God’s will has you facing — even if it’s fortified cities and trained militaries — even if its being shamed by your peers or dealing with a miserable boss or poor health.
APP: Courageous faith leads to resolute obedience to God’s word. Resolute obedience to God’s law assures you the wisdom to thrive wherever God takes you.
Do you see how this leads to courageous living? No fortified city, no ruthless military, no marriage challenge, no financial hardship, no call to adopt or to go or to give is not encompassed in the wisdom given by God’s Law. God’s Law equips me to face it all. The purpose of discipleship is to equip people through God’s word to live wisely to God’s glory in all of life.
Do you know God’s word? Are you obeying God’s word?
v. 8 “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.”
God delegates the leadership of the collective to leaders who are to lead everyone to resolute, courageous obedience. 3 Ways God leads his ppl through his word:
Instruct (Set their direction)
Everyone was waiting on Joshua’s command. So, how was he to speak to them? How was he to lead them? How was he to command them? “This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth.”
What is this courageous faith supposed to lead to? It’s the preparation for Joshua to lead his people. To prepare Joshua for the brutal battles that lie ahead, God doesn’t train Joshua’s body; He trains Joshua’s faith.
(Think Jericho) The only hope that they had to fall the enemies that lay before them was through the word of God, not their own strategies. (They had tried their own way in Numbers 14, and they were slaughtered.)
The word of God is a matter of survival for the people of God. It’s where receive our strength, our power, our consecration, our hope.
God ALWAYS leads his people through his word. (same today with the preached word)
Unify (Change their conversation)
“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.
Meditate = quote aloud
couldn’t carry scrolls with them.
Israel was always grumbling and gossiping:
Their nature divided them and made them more susceptible to defeat.
So, God gives them something constructive to say.
Embolden their action
Joshua 1:9 “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.”
Israel’s Temptation: Focus on the size of their enemy and the difficulty of their circumstances.
God's charge: Change the conversation from problems to promises!
Joshua has a particular responsibility when it comes to God’s promise.
“For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
God has already said that He’s going before them, He’s going with them so that no army, no person can stand before them. He’s already said that He would give them their inheritance.
So, how was it that Joshua would ‘make his way prosperous?’ That is, how would he maintain his courage and the courage of those he was leading? By reciting God’s promises day in and day out. It wasn’t by improving their weaponry, and it wasn’t by doing training exercises. It was by reminding himself and his people that this was God’s battle to fight and God’s gift to give.
APP: Change the conversation in your life (and the life of our church) from problems to promises.
Our boldness is rooted in God’s promises.
You can get on the looping starship. You can face the enemies of the Promised Land. And, Iron City, you can plant churches on every continent. You can stand for Biblical marriage in a mocking culture. You can raise your kids to follow Jesus and now their hearts. You can give up the house you’re able to afford so that you can bless people you’ll never meet. Because your Father is with you. It’s his promise. He’s going to be beside you through every flip and every terrifying moment, and He’s going to give you what you need to thrive in every moment.