Be strong and very courageous

Joshua chapter one is surely an inspiring chapter. Its one of those chapters that I hear quoted a lot, there are some great verses in there that seem to be in the top 10 quotes that christians use. I did a quick sermon search on this chapter and came up with some interesting titles:

  • It’s time to make your move
  • Perusing your plan
  • Being strong and courageous
  • God’s rules for success (that’s my favourite!)
  • Facing the future
  • Be strong for God is with you

I am sure we have all heard sermons of this flavour and countless times I have heard (from my own mouth as well) saying to people “be strong and courageous, just as Joshua was”. This especially happens just when someone is about to go on overseas mission or to something really important, we mantra – “Be strong and very courageous”!

After looking at this chapter again I have come to a different conclusion and think in many ways we and have missed something huge here. Part of the problem is who are we in this story? Who’s shoes do we put ourselves in? No doubt we place ourselves in the boots of Joshua and therefore take the words that the Lord said to Joshua to our own hearts. I must be strong and courageous. I must be like Joshua. The second part of the problem is that if we think of it like that then Jesus isn’t at the center of this story, but I have placed myself there.

Who does Joshua represent in this story? He is the saviour figure, the one that leads the people, he meditates on the word, he is revered above them all, he is the mediator between the people and the Lord. It’s funny because that doesn’t sound like you or me really. It defiantly sounds like Jesus and Jesus is the true Joshua, just as he is the true Moses and David etc.

Most often when we read the OT we come out with application on how to be a good Christian, like with Joshua we see we need to be strong and with David we need to overcome our Goliaths and with Boaz we need to redeem people. When we do that I fear we remove Christ from the picture and exalt ourselves. But lets place Christ back in the picture and if Joshua is pointing to Christ then that is where we need to look.

And if Christ is back in the picture then here is the good news – you don’t have to be strong and courageous, you just need to look at the one who is strong and courageous. You need to look at the one who is the saviour, the one who redeems, the one who is the true Joshua, the one who leads people from death to life. You need to look at Christ. Look at Him! Trust in Him! Doesn’t that sound more like the Gospel? Its beautiful and heart warming.