“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.”
Have you ever felt inadequate? In over your head? Not up to the task in front of you and afraid of failure? These thoughts surely passed through Joshua’s mind as he inherited the mantle and ministry of Moses after his death. Poised to enter the land of promise and step into the realization of God’s covenant with Israel, Joshua found the mission suddenly thrust on him following this tragic loss for God’s people. Not only did he mourn the loss of a leader and friend; he had to shepherd the people beyond the point where Moses had led them.
In his own inadequacy, he met God’s provision and discovered that the only way forward was utter dependence. “Be strong and courageous” was not a pep talk or pop theology designed to make him believe in himself. “Be strong and courageous” was a prophetic vision of what happens when God’s people sink into a soul-level dependence on his strength instead of our own. The strength and courage spoken of here do not originate in us. They are borrowed. They well up within us but they come from outside of us. They are signs of awakening cultivated through that journey that starts with dissatisfaction and leads us deeper.
Joshua stood at a crossroads moment. It was the end of one journey and the beginning of the next. But to move forward he had to recognize his desperate need for dependence. Only then was he able to step forward in strength and courage.
Jesus, remind me that my desperation for you can become dependence. Be my strength and courage when my weakness and fears hold me back.
Where are you feeling inadequate? Where do you feel underprepared or in over your head? Allow your group members to speak words of strength and courage.
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