Strong and Courageous | Day Thirteen
By: Kate Downing
When we started this journey, we met Joshua in the prime of his life. He was just being given the role of leader of Israel. God promised to be with him and to do incredible things through him. We are now nearing the end of the book and life of Joshua.
He is old and his people are in a season of peace. Joshua understands that his life is coming to an end and therefore his leadership of the people is coming to an end as well. The last two chapters of Joshua are the final recorded words of Joshua to the people. These last two chapters contain some incredible challenges, encouragements, and pieces of well-learned wisdom from a man who lived strongly and courageously.
Today, we will look at Joshua 23, but first, spend some time praying over these things:
Praise God for giving you the time and ability to study His Word today.
Ask God to speak to you through His Word.
Thank the Lord for something He has taught you through this study so far.
Read Joshua 23:1-5. What is the setting of this chapter (vs. 1)?
Read verse 3 again. List some of the incredible ways God fought for and brought victory to the people of Israel in the book of Joshua.
What promise does Joshua make to the people in verse five?
So is the conquering of the land finished? Or are there still other nations living among the Israelites?
Read Joshua 23:6-8. Write down verse six.
This verse is key because it is foundational to Israel remaining strong and courageous even after Joshua’s death. They MUST remain firm in the Word of God. As we’ve mentioned before, the Book of the Law of Moses was the only portion of the Bible that had been written at this point in history. Joshua was urging the people to read it, study it, and live by it!
We should take the same instruction today. We MUST remain firm in the Word of God if we are to live a strong and courageous life. We cannot trust the strength of God if we don’t get to know His strength described in Scripture. And, we cannot be courageously obedient to His commands if we don’t study them in Scripture. Just as Joshua urged the people to be strong in God’s Word, I urge you today. Be STRONG in God’s Word, read it, study it, and live by it!!
Read verse 8 again. What did Joshua command the people to do in this verse?
What does it mean to hold fast to something?
I love roller coasters, but they also terrify me. I don’t trust that the shoulder harness or lap bar is going to keep me in my seat. So, when I ride a roller coaster, I hold the handles like my life depends on it. I understand that I’m not actually strong enough to keep myself from falling out if the safety harness somehow malfunctions, but I hold on like I believe I can. I hold fast to those handles and scream the whole way.
That is the idea of holding fast to God...but without the screaming. It is clinging to the One who your life depends upon. Life without God is hopeless and leads to death. Joshua was warning the people not to begin to follow the gods of other peoples. He wanted them to diligently, faithfully, hold tightly to the One, True God.
Read Joshua 23:9-11.
What command does Joshua give in verse eleven?
“[B]e very careful to love the Lord your God.” – Joshua 23:11
Loving God isn’t just an emotion we have. It is lived out diligently in our actions. Loving God is something the people had to be intentional and diligent to do. The same is true for you and I. We must be intentional and committed to loving God above all else. We’ll talk more about this tomorrow.
In this chapter, Joshua gives three specific commands:
Be strong in God’s word – spend specific, daily time in the Bible
Hold fast to God – be persistent in trusting God alone
Be diligent to love God – be intentional to love God alone
The same commands apply to us. By following these, we can be strong and courageous.
Spend the next few minutes praying over these three commands. Ask the Lord to help you follow them today and in the days to come.
Complete this sentence and write it down in your notes or on your phone: