A mission to move and make

Published 11:00 am Sunday, July 23, 2023

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” — Joshua 1:9 (NKJV).

Joshua is speaking to the Israelites after Moses died; after 40 years of leading God’s children through the wilderness Moses is gone and the Lord has made Joshua their leader. Now Joshua is encouraging them as he assumes leadership and explains God’s plan. The theme of his message seems to be: “Do not be afraid, God is with you.”

These words and others very similar, and are spoken several times as Joshua prepares them for the battles that lie ahead. With the command to not fear their enemies as their mantra, the Israelites would sweep across the “promised land” in victory against overwhelming odds over those whom God had given them. There would be an occasional setback, but God’s chosen people would prevail as long as they followed His will.

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There is a great lesson in the Book of Joshua for Christians today; many are the trials and difficulties that we face. The whole world is against God’s Church, and it is very easy to be discouraged and dismayed if we do not focus on His words to Joshua. We must not fear the enemy; we must not be dismayed by the world’s trial and tribulation. Jesus told us that we would have trouble in this world. He also said that He had overcome the world (John 16:33). If our faith is strong enough to trust Him, then we know that we can be over comers as well.

There will always be conflict from one origin or another. No matter the source, Jesus has overcome all trials and troubles that threaten our relationship with Him. Whether they be against us personally, or against our church, we will be winners if we allow Him to lead us through the difficulties.

God has a plan for you and I, and He has a plan for our churches. That plan is the same as it was in Joshua’s day — we are to “be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” With this verse as our marching orders, we are to move ahead with the mission of the Church, and make disciples for Jesus Christ.

The Rev. Bobby Thornhill is a retired pastor.