Fujitsu closed its plant in Gresham. Enron announces it will declare bankruptcy. The Oregonian does not deliver much by the way of good news. It seems with each week more companies are laying off employees. Times are getting tougher. For every headline proclaiming bad news there are real lives effected, like David in Salem. In tears he grapples with the virtual elimination of his savings as stock once worth $89 a share is now 40 cents a share. Like Mike in Beaverton, he went in to work and the plant had closed down swiftly and unannounced. He returned home without a job.
Joshua 1:9-- Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
When God says be strong, He’s not talking about a weight-lifting program. He doesn’t mean that you are to go out and buy a case of multivitamins and start a jogging regimen. When God says be strong He means “Buck up! Get your eyes off adversity and look to Me!” Strong in the Bible implies living by faith in the power of God.
Moses died and Joshua inherited his mentor’s mantle of leadership. He experienced everything the Lord accomplished over a forty-year period beginning with the ten plagues God struck Egypt with to guiding them through extended wanderings in the desert. Why did God need to tell him three times to be strong and courageous? Well, for one thing, Joshua knew full well what a rebellious nation he led. The Israelites tested God to the limit and Joshua knew how unruly they were. But God did not want Joshua’s eyes focused on his countrymen. Second, imagine the task of leading over a million people across the Jordan river to conquer a land inhabited by larger and stronger nations thereby fulfilling God’s promise to Abraham! Just getting across the river was a logistical nightmare. But God did not want Joshua’s eyes focused on the obstacles. Third, Joshua no doubt felt insecure, overwhelmed by the responsibilities upon his shoulders. Look whose shoes he had to fill, and Moses never wanted the job! He was charged with obeying God’s law and helping a nation faithfully abide by those laws. But God did not want Joshua’s eyes focused on himself.
God worked through Joshua to part the Jordan just like He ministered through Moses to part the Red Sea, so the people could cross on dry land. “On that day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel, and they revered him throughout his life, as they had revered Moses” (Jos.4:14).
Be strong and courageous. I don’t know what challenges you are facing, but God does. You don’t need to be afraid. Friend, don’t lose sleep trying to figure out how you and your family will make it. I’ve seen God part lots of rivers in my short life. If you think about it carefully, you probably have too! I’ve never encountered a situation too difficult for my Father to handle. He’s quite awesome! He is able! He is worthy of trust. He will see you through—count on it, live like it, start crossing the river.
Do not weigh highly who may be for you or against you. But take thought and care that God be with you in everything you do. Have a good conscience, and God will defend you well.—Thomas a Kempis in The Imitation of Christ
If you want a wonderful experience, take your New Testament and use a concordance to look up the two little words, "but God." See how many times human resources have been brought to an utter end; despair has gripped the heart and pessimism and gloom has settled upon a people; and there is nothing that can be done. Then see how the Spirit of God writes in luminous letters, "But God," and the whole situation changes into victory.—Ray C. Stedman in Man of Faith
If within us we find nothing over us we succumb to what is around us.—P.T. Forsyth
©2001 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)