Strength, courage, and adequacy

Moses blesses Joshua

Moses Blesses Joshua Before the High Priest / James Tissot, late 19th century

God’s first words to Joshua are, “Moses my servant is dead. Now proceed to cross the Jordan.” Joshua had known that this moment would come.

Everyone knew that Moses would not lead the people into the Promised Land.

We have all experienced starting a new venture or getting a big promotion, something that we have prepared to do for a long time.

But when it comes time to actually start working, it’s only natural to have some jitters about our adequacy.

Joshua’s adequacy

Make no mistake about it: when Joshua learned that Moses was dead and that now he would have to lead the people across the Jordan and lead the fight to conquer the land, he felt inadequate.

Not only that, he was scared.

We know that, because in Joshua 1 God told him three times to be strong and courageous.

God did not tell him, “Fear not.” He told him, “Be strong and courageous.” In the process, God made some pretty big promises:

  • He had already given Joshua and the people all that land that his feet would walk on.
  • No one would be able to stand against them. God would be with Joshua just as he had been with Moses.
  • God would not fail him or forsake him.

But there was something Joshua had to do to obtain what God had promised: he had to act in accordance with the law, both in his leadership role and in his personal life.

He was promised success as long as he didn’t stray from the path set out by the law. God told him that he had to meditate on the law day and night: say it out loud to himself in order to walk in it.

God didn’t mean only to think about all of the commandments. The book of the law also contains many reminders of God’s character: his faithfulness, his grace, and his ability to rescue people from all the most seemingly impossible situations.

Your and my adequacy

Moses appoints Joshua

Moses Appoints Joshua / Henry Davenport Northrop (1894)

Constantly meditating on the nature of God guarantees success and prosperity in carrying out whatever role he has assigned us.

Joshua 1 is a great tonic whenever we feel inadequate for something. So long as we are doing what God has assigned us to do, we are adequate for it.

And so long as we meditate more on his greatness than on our littleness, we are guaranteed not only success, but prosperity. (God’s definition of prosperity, which is different from ours.)

But apparently when Joshua stopped cowering in a corner and faced his people, he still had some butterflies about leading. In Joshua 1:18, even the people told him to be strong and courageous!

God has never had anyone qualified working for him yet. Think of the spiritual leaders you know. Every one of them has flaws and weaknesses.

None of us have ever followed, seen, heard of, or been a leader without flaws and weaknesses. (By the way, if you have reached any level of Christian maturity, you are a spiritual leader.)

Christian leaders can accomplish great things not because of their own greatness, but only to the extent of their reliance and trust in a great God.

The recipe for success is the same today as it was for Joshua:

  • meditate constantly on the word and greatness of God
  • do exactly what he commands.

How do you meditate on God’s word and character? Let us know in the comments.

Image credits:
Moses Blesses Joshua. Public domain from Wikimedia Commons.
Moses Appoints Joshua. Public domain from Wikimedia Commons.


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