Saturday, June 24, 2017

Lessons from Joshua 1:9

 Lately it seems as if many of us are facing all sorts of unknowns.  If I take just a few minutes and think about the ladies in my Sunday School class, and also my blogging friends, I could come up with a staggering list of unknowns that different ones are facing.

From cancer and other health issues, to retirement, to grief and loss, to facing a nursing home or assisted living, to the possible sale of a home, to issues with children, to estate responsibilities, to legal issues -- the list could go on and on.  One young woman in my class is working as a camp counselor this summer.  Talk about physically exhausting and emotionally draining work!  Plus, each week of camp brings a new set of campers with their own unique challenges -- a fresh set of unknowns every week!

It's been fascinating to me to see how God has brought particular verses to mind as I have dealt with my own impending unknowns.  One thing that happened was that as I was working on the review lesson for the Sunday School study we're finishing up, I realized I had never actually taken time to meditate on the six verses that formed the backbone of our two years of study in the book Following God with All Your Heart, by Elizabeth George.  I had read the verses countless times, memorized each one, and thought about them repeatedly.  But I had not taken time to work through meditating on them using the the SOAP method which I so greatly enjoy.  And I realized that every one of these verses -- Joshua 1:8, Joshua 1:9, Romans 12:2, 1 Peter 5:5-6, Psalm 84:11, and Philippians 4:13 -- would be useful ones to meditate on as I finished my review.  SOAPing them would help solidify these six life-changing verses in my thinking.
So I began.  And almost immediately an unexpected event also happened -- the death of my dad.  Unknowns abounded.  (They are, however, not unexpected and not unknown to God.)  Today I am just going to zero in on my study of Joshua 1:9, which I did on June 9.  It is simple, but such a blessing.

S=  "Have not I commanded thee?  Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."

O= After Moses' death, God spoke to Joshua, who would be the new leader of the children of Israel.  How amazing it must have been to be encouraged by God Himself!  He assured Joshua that every inch of the promised land was theirs (v. 2-4); that He would be with him and not fail or forsake him; that no man would be able to stand before them (v. 5).  He encouraged and commanded Joshua to keep His Word in the forefront of his thinking, to meditate on it and obey it (v. 7-8).

Here in v. 9, God reminds Joshua to be strong and courageous: "Have not I commanded thee?  Be strong and of good courage."  This is the third time God has told him this: verses 6 and 7 record the same command.  He expands on it here:

* Be not afraid
* Be not dismayed

And then He tells him why: "for the LORD thy God is with thee wherever thou goest."  What possible need could there be for fear?

A= This is the perfect day for me to be meditating upon this verse.  Things are changing in my life.  There are many things I could be fearful about, from family concerns to legal matters.  Literally, because my dad has died, things will never be the same as they were before.  And yet ...

* I can be strong
* I can be courageous
* I need not be afraid
* I need not be dismayed

BECAUSE

* The Lord my God is with me wherever I go and whatever I face.

P=  Lord, how I thank and praise You for Your Word!  I thank You today in particular for this powerful verse.  What a great reminder!  Because You, the all-powerful, all-knowing God, are with me, I can be strong and very courageous.  There is no need for fear or dismay.  I pray that you will help me to keep this verse firmly in my mind as I face the unknown, and thank You for all You will do, in Jesus' name, Amen. 

I hope these simple thoughts have been a blessing to someone today!
The photos are from Tuesday evening, and were taken at a nearby lake.  After a stressful day, Mr. T and I packed up a simple picnic and headed for the lake to eat supper.  What a refreshing break it was to be out in God's creation, soaking in its beauty and serenity!  These photos were snapped with the Kindle and taken right from our picnic table.  The folks in the photo above are NOT us, but another couple with the same idea.  I didn't intend to get them in the picture, but I sort of liked how it came out.  Seems to fit with my thought of keeping our focus on the Creator as we move ahead into the unknowns of life.

6 comments:

  1. We are not to live a fearful life, yet things causing us fear and anxiety are always happening. So it's not an easy thing. If it were, we'd need no faith and we'd have no realization that we need The Lord. Thank you for sharing your Bible Study thoughts.

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  2. You're right, Vee! The fact that God tells us "fear not" reminds us that there will always be fearful things happening in our lives. And it is surely not an easy thing. We know too that God allows trials and testings for a reason -- to grow us spiritually, to strengthen our faith, and much more. (Can you tell I've been recently studying James 1:2-12? Amazing how God brings us to just the right passages at the right time!)

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  3. Good thinking points. I realized last week I have been living with a whole lot of that fear and not near enough of that faith. Thankfully, He loves and sees me through it all until I come to my senses.

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    1. So true, Sandy. Fear is something I have battled a lot over the years. At the moment it's mostly just feeling overwhelmed. I know God is in control and I believe I am already seeing His hand in these unknowns, but it's still a struggle at times.

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  4. So sorry to hear about your Dad Mrs. T. My grandma passed away almost a year ago and as much as I wouldn't wish her back not a day goes by that I haven't missed her. Thinking of you in these coming days.

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    1. Thanks, Nikki. No, I wouldn't wish him back either. The more I have gone through old photos and so on, the more I am reminded of what a wonderful dad he was.

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