Be Strong and Be Courageous

The children of Israel, God’s chosen people of old, were in captivity in Egypt. God sent his servant Moses to rescue them from their captivity, which he did. Then they wandered in the desert for 40 years under Moses’ leadership because of their rebellion against the Lord, although not all disbelieved God. Then, after all those who had rebelled via unbelief against God had died, and after Moses, God’s servant, had died, God chose Joshua to lead God’s people, his faithful remnant, over the Jordan into the Promised Land.

The Lord then gave this promise to Joshua (Joshua 1:3-5 ESV):

“Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.”

We, as God’s legitimate children today, must guard against arbitrarily taking God’s promises given to specific people at specific times in history and making them our own promises from God. Obviously most of this was very specific to Joshua and to the children of Israel at that time, other than perhaps just this last sentence, “I will not leave you or forsake you.”

Yet, many people today pull promises of God out of context and make them their own when they do not apply to them. So, to me, a general rule of thumb is to see if these promises are repeated in the New Testament for us, God’s chosen people today. If they are, then we can definitely apply them to our lives, but not to all who merely just profess faith in Jesus Christ. For all of God’s promises have specific conditions to be met for them to be fulfilled.

Another rule of thumb here is to consider this teaching:

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV).

So, what is this saying? It is saying that “all Scripture,” whether from the Old Testament or from the New Testament, or whether specifically directed at us or not, is useful to us today. Yet, that doesn’t give us liberty to freely interpret Scripture and to apply it to our lives where it should not be applied, but we can learn something from all Scripture. There are universal truths which we can gather from all Scripture which can be applied to us today as long as they are in agreement with New Covenant teaching.

So, let’s move forward and we will see what application we can make here:

“Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:6-9 ESV).

“Be strong and courageous” is definitely taught to us as God’s children today with regard to our walks of faith in Jesus Christ. We don’t have to do all according to the law of Moses, but we are required in the New Testament, under the New Covenant, to obey our Lord and his commands (New Covenant teaching). Not turning from New Covenant teachings to the right or to the left so that we will be spiritually productive in our Christian lives definitely is taught us in the New Testament, under the New Covenant.

The law of Moses, with regard to the liturgical, sacrificial, ceremonial, and purification laws that God’s people of old had to obey, does not apply to our lives today. But God’s moral laws are repeated for us under the New Covenant and we are required of God to obey them, but not as a set of rules to follow, necessarily, but out of submission and obedience to Jesus Christ, and out of hearts and lives surrendered to him, desirous to do his will. We must obey Jesus if we want to be saved from our sins and to live eternally.

Therefore, God’s instructions to us, who are his children by legitimate faith in Jesus Christ, are not to depart from our mouths or from our hearts, but we should meditate on the Word of the Lord day and night. And his word is not just the written word but it is all that the Holy Spirit is teaching us, for the Living Word is living inside of us, and we have the mind of Christ. But since the Spirit’s voice is somewhat subjective, we must test everything against the Scriptures, for all must agree with the written word in principle.

Let me give you an example of what I mean here. We are all called of God to specific ministries, our parts in the body of Christ, and we are all given spiritual gifts of the Spirit of God to be used within the body of Christ for our mutual edification. But the written word is not going to name us specifically or give us our specific assignments or tell us what our spiritual gifts are. This requires discernment of the Holy Spirit’s voice speaking to us specifically and individually leading us in the way God has for us. But whatever we believe God is leading us to do must agree with the Scriptures in general.

And we should not only meditate on the word of the Lord, but we are to be careful to do according to all that is written in it which applies to our lives specifically as followers of Jesus Christ. And the only way that we are going to know what God’s instructions are to us, his people today, is to be students of the Scriptures, but to study them in context so that we do not misinterpret and misapply them to our lives. For we must obey our Lord, and forsake our sins, or we will not inherit the kingdom of God.

And the final exhortation is again to remind us to be strong and courageous, but not in our flesh, and not about things of this world, but in the Lord, and in his strength and power, and with regard to all that is holy and righteous and godly and morally pure and upright and honest and trustworthy, etc. We are to remain steadfast in our faith in Jesus Christ and in the teachings of his word (New Covenant) and in moral purity, and in our testimonies for Jesus Christ and for this unadulterated gospel truth.

And we are not to be frightened in any way by any and all who oppose us who also oppose the Jesus of the Scriptures and the gospel of the Scriptures. For many people today are following “another Jesus” and a “different gospel” other than the Jesus and the gospel of the Scriptures, and they are coming against the Lord’s servants and his gospel with full force right now to oppose and to challenge us in our walks of faith in Christ. But we need to know that God is with us who are following him in truth, and he will give us all we need to endure, so we are not to give up hope.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8, 27; Rev 22:14-15]


An Original Work / December 24, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures

The Word of God throughout taught.
Some people heard but did doubt.
Still others had faith in Christ.
By grace He purified them.

They turned from sin
And they obeyed Christ.
He opened up their blinded eyesight;
Turned them from darkness
To the true Light;
Forgave their sin by His might.

He strengthened them in their faith.
He said, “Remain my faithful.”
He called them to obedience.
By faith, they were so grateful.

By faith, they were to follow Jesus;
To daily sit and listen to Him;
To have such faith
That mountains could move;
To love those whom He gave them.

Be on your guard; courageous.
Stand firm in faith. Be thankful.
Take up the shield of your faith;
Protect against all evil.

Do not move from
The hope that you have.
Your faith in Jesus let it endure.
Hold to the truth;
Your conscience be clear.
Endure with perseverance.

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