Be Strong and Courageous

One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Joshua 1.  Moses had just died and the leadership baton was changing hands.  Joshua, Moses’ one-time assistant, would now assume command.  To say the least, this was no small assignment for Joshua.  By this point in time, the Israelites numbered at least 2 million people, so for Joshua to be taking the place of Moses was a monumental challenge.  Not only would he be leading this enormous group of people, he would be leading them into the Promised Land.  As you know, the Promised Land was not uninhabited, empty terrain.  There were several different peoples and nations they would have to conquer and defeat before it would be theirs. It was into this context that the Lord God appeared to Joshua and gave him this charge:

6 “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Make no mistake about it – we are in a battle today as Christians.  We don’t have to conquer lands and peoples like Joshua and the Israelites – so what do I mean by that?  The battle, at its most fundamental level, is being fought over the Word of God.  What is at stake here is “truth” itself.  Will we affirm that the Bible is the authoritative Word of God – or will we give into the pressure to reduce the Bible to the status of non-authoritative?  There’s no question that there are plenty of people who would affirm the Bible as a good book with some good stories and lessons.  However, they would never allow the Bible to become the authority for all matters of life and living.  As Christians, we must be prepared to take a stand for Biblical truth.  This will indeed take strength and courage.

In John 18:37, Jesus said, “For this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to THE TRUTH.  Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” A few years ago, I read a book by Francis Schaeffer called, “The Great Evangelical Disaster.”  In one of his chapters he explains how this issue is a watershed issue.  Those who hold to the truth of the Bible start very close to those who hold the Bible to be almost-true.  However, just like a watershed, what starts off close together eventually ends up miles apart, and sometimes on the opposite side of the continent.  So the question I want to ask you is – which side of truth are you on?  Do you hold to the authority of the Bible or is it just another book for you?

Let us resolve to submit to the truth of the Scriptures and the authority of God over our lives.

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