Valleys and Mountains. Struggles and Victories.
The flame shall not hurt thee, I only design,
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.
He controls the degree and the duration so I must trust.
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Weapons Against Fear and Discouragement
Joshua 1:5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.“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 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; 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 afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” I first heard these verses when I was very young. The plot-line, riveting. The "actors", diverse. The outcome uncertain, from a human perspective. Coming off of the Red Sea escape and the subsequent time in the desert with all kinds of pitfalls as well as drama it's difficult to see how there would be a need for this type of "speech" on God's part to the men and women who had just endured all that they had over 40 years. I think it is also easy to think that God is talking to small and frail people when He is giving these words. Especially when you hear them as a child, one can quickly think He is talking directly to kids. He is talking to kids and even women but NOT primarily. He is talking to the leader of Israel and giving him words that he should pass along to his leadership team of men. Four times in 5 verses He commands him/them not to be afraid or discouraged but to be courageous. Why this need at this point? Men, yes grown men, get discouraged, disheartened and afraid. We are not supposed to be so, but obviously God knew that this predisposition was "crouching at the door" and so He is reminding Joshua and his men that they were to trust Him. I, for one, can relate. I have not learned yet, to not be discouraged and afraid when things are out of my control, when things look bleak and even insurmountable. This story goes on to tell of some people who thought along the same lines as I have been inclined to think as well as just a few who obeyed God's command to not be afraid or discouraged. How does one come to that place, to not get discouraged? I believe the only way that can happen is to fully rely on Him and realize before we even go into the fray that it is ALL out of our control in the first place and God is going to do what He is going to do with and for His people. There is a prerequisite to success and blessing listed by God in these verses as well and it's not to get better equipment or weapons but rather to think about what He has told them to do and then do it, not turning to the right or to the left. "Trust me and I will not leave you or forsake you as long as you do what I have told you to do." Simple words, hard to remember in the midst of life's craziness. May we trust and obey what we know He has already commanded us to do.