Week 1, Day 4
READ: Joshua 1-2
BACKGROUND: Joshua was written by Joshua sometime around 1400 B.C. and it is a book that describes the conquest and division of the Promised Land. It basically picks up right where Deuteronomy left off, and, sadly, it tells not only the story of great victory but also of religious compromise and unfaithfulness to God. God had been shaping his people for years (40 of them!) since they left Egypt to be a people who lived holy lives dedicated to him and shine as a bright light in the darkness of the world. At times they did just that, but at other times they turned away.
One of the most interesting things in the first chapter is the repetition of the phrase “be strong and courageous.” It appears in verses 6, 7, & 9, and the concept dominates the whole chapter.
THINK: My son, Jimmy, is a pretty fearless kid. He’s only 2, but he loves climbing as high as possible – one whatever he can find wherever we are – and then jumping off. Sometimes I even catch him when he jumps. 🙂 Recently, though, he’s developed a fear of the dark. When he was younger he wasn’t afraid of the dark. My 10 week old daughter is not afraid of the dark. But last week when Jimmy got shut into a dark room he started crying because he was scared. And, after comforting him like any great father would (i.e. handing him of to Mommy) I began to wonder when and why people develop a fear of the dark. I mean, I know that dark is dark and you can’t really see anything, but nothing bad has ever happened to Jimmy in the dark. He’s never been attacked by monsters living under his crib. He doesn’t have any real reason to be afraid of the dark. And yet he is very afraid of the dark.
It’s tempting to think about a child’s fear of the dark in a condescending manner because I know that it’s an unnecessary and irrational fear. There really isn’t anything to be afraid of. But if I’m honest, as I look at my own life, I see unnecessary and irrational fears all over the place. How about you? When you think about your faith and your relationship with God in particular, is it dominated by confidence or fear? Are you strong and courageous…do you witness to those around you and live counter-culturally? Or do you just blend in because you’re too scared to live boldly? Do you trust that God works all things out for the good of those who love him? Or do you find yourself gripped with worry over your future?
All of us are afraid sometimes. But if there is a lesson to be learned from the first 2 chapters of Joshua it is this: we don’t need to be scared! We can be strong and courageous because God is powerful and he is in control and things might not always work out the way we planned or hoped but God is working all things out for our good and his glory. My challenge to you is to have faith like Rahab. She took huge risks – she put her life on the line by committing treason – because she had an unshakable confidence that God was holy and that he could accomplish anything. I pray you live your life with that confidence. Live boldly. Live radically. Live counter-culturally. There is so much darkness surrounding us, and so many people are living lives crippled with fear because of it. May we fearlessly be lights that illuminate!
ASK: What fears am I struggling with that I need to release to God? What are some specific ways in which I can be more courageous in living and sharing my faith with lost people?