Summary: Sometimes God has to remind us to be strong and courageous.
Scripture: Joshua 1:1-9
Moses is dead.
Now YOU go and inherit the land I am giving you.
I will not fail you. I will not abandon you.
Three times in the first nine verses of the first chapter of Joshua, we are called to be STRONG and COURAGEOUS.
Right there, with the discipline of being obedient to scripture, and the promise of God to be with us wherever we go, and his promise that we will be successful - in with all of that - we are told, not once, but three times, to be strong and courageous.
Now why would God tell Joshua, and US, something THREE times? Could it be because HE knew WE wouldn’t likely get it the first time. Is it because God knows OUR courage, like Joshua’s is sometimes hard to hold on to.
So God has to remind Joshua, and us, MOSES IS DEAD.
Now Moses was their leader.
Moses was the glue that held their world together.
Moses was the one they looked to for guidance - for the next step.
Moses was the one they complained to when they weren’t happy.
And now, God is telling them - point blank - Moses is dead.
Who, or what, is your Moses?
What is it that keeps you going? What is it that holds your world together? What is it, that if you loose it today, you’ll just fall apart?
Let me make some suggestions of what some us may have as the Moses in our life...
A retirement nest egg
A mom, or dad
or maybe it’s something not so tangible - maybe your Moses is knowledge, control, power, prestige, looking good.
What might churches hold up as their Moses?
The Lord’s Prayer
Order of service
a particular family
MOSES IS DEAD
God tells Joshua Moses is dead. Now Joshua knew Moses was dead - they were all in a time of mourning for him. So God didn’t tell Joshua this just so that he would become aware of it - he knew Moses was dead. God TELLS Joshua Moses is dead so he’ll let go. So he’ll move on from his time of mourning over something that cannot and should not be resurrected, and trust GOD for what is ahead.
Because you see, courage comes with TRUSTING.
And courage comes, not from the ABSENCE of fear, but in going FORWARD in spite of the fear. That’s courage.
And I believe if we’re going to have courage - if we’re going to be, and become, Courageous Christians, there are at least three truths we will always encounter - three truths we will have to be fully aware of, and understand.
1. IF we are going to be Courageous Christians, we must turn our potential to posses into the power of possession.
We must turn our potential to posses, into the POWER of possession.
God wants us to go forward to possess that which is potentially here for us, right here in Mapleton. And the victory is already there. It is God’s will for you, and it’s God’s will for me, that we ARE victorious. We just have to exercise the POWER God has put within us to be victorious.
May I suggest this morning one of the greatest temptations for us today, I believe, is to underestimate our potential. We get into a kind of negative mind-set and we don’t even see the wonderful potential God has placed within us and around us.
I imagine Joshua felt that way after Moses died and he was to carry on.
After all - no prophet had risen in all of Israel, we’re told, like Moses.
No one had done the miraculous signs and wonders Moses had.
And Joshua was just Moses’ aide.
I’m sure Joshua probably felt like he couldn’t possibly measure up to Moses. Ever felt like a Joshua.
But you know what? Moses fell. Deuteronomy tells us Moses broke faith with the Lord.
Great Prophet? Yes. Ordinary person just like you and me.
TRUST - GO FORWARD - despite the fear.
How can we do that? How is it that Joshua could go forward.
Because Joshua was never to rely on his own wisdom or on the great size of the Israelite army. The sole source of Joshua’s strength would be the Lord’s presence with him wherever he went.
And the sole source of OUR power is God’s presence with us wherever we go.
The potential is there for us to enjoy - we just have to reach for it. God is not going to force us to possess it. He’s not going to pour out the victory where there has been no battle.