March 01, 2021 | Letters from the Lead Pastor by Brandon Lenhart
Imagine that you’re facing a future of promise and opportunity. There is nowhere to go but up from where you are. The world is your oyster, and all your problems are melting away in the possibilities that lay ahead of you. Your confidence is high, your will is strong, and your joy is complete.
This was Joshua’s story. After having lived in the wilderness just outside of the Promised Land for 40-years along with the Israelites, he (and they) now stand face to face with their destiny. They have learned from their past mistakes, they have learned about God’s patience and mercy, and now they are learning that God is true to His word and promise.
In the Old Testament book of Joshua, chapter one, the great friend of God and leader of the people of God has died, and Joshua (son of Nun) has accepted the role and authority of leadership in his place. Standing on the banks of the Jordan River just to the east of the Promised Land, God speaks to Joshua with words of encouragement and exhortation. He is to be “strong” and “courageous” on this journey marked out before him as he leads the people into the Land of Promise.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I might still have a few doubts; not about God, but about myself. My tendency is to second-guess my abilities and worth in light of what God has called me to. This isn’t God’s fault, but rather my insecurities.
Knowing human nature, God instructs Joshua, not once, not twice, but three times in the first 9 verses of the book of Joshua to be strong and courageous. The first time God says this to Joshua is to declare an affirmation of Joshua’s role and position as God’s leader for this specific time period in history as a continuation of the ongoing story of God’s love and redemption for His people.
The second instance of God’s instruction to be strong and courageous was to remind Joshua that he was not going in his own strength and power, but rather in the strength and power of God with the Word of God as his compass pointing him and the people of God ever-forward in obedience and faith to God.
The third instance, and capstone, of God’s instruction to Joshua to be strong and courageous, was the most significant because God promises Joshua that “…[He] will be with [him] wherever he [went].”
If you were Joshua, how would you fair? Would you step into God’s plans and promises? Would you be strong and courageous? Would you be obedient to take a leap of faith into the unknown knowing that God would be with you wherever you went?
Today, God is calling His people (as He always does) to be strong and courageous. There is a Land of Promise that we have been called to known as the Kingdom of God; it is a land flowing with “milk” and “honey.” And, though there are dangers and difficulties in our journey—though there are unknowns along the way—God reminds us (His people) that He will be with us. So, it’s time for God’s people to be strong and courageous as we embrace all that He has for this year knowing that He is with us!