Joshua 1:1-9 The Voice (VOICE) Moses served the Eternal One faithfully until the end of his days. After his death, the Eternal singled out Joshua, the son of Nun, who had walked at the right hand of Moses during the wilderness wanderings.
Eternal One (to Joshua): 2 Since My servant Moses is now dead, you and the Israelites must prepare to cross over the Jordan River to enter the land I have given you. 3 I will give you every place you walk, wherever your feet touch, just as I promised Moses.[a] 4 From the southern deserts to the northern mountains in Lebanon, from the great Euphrates River in the east—including all the land of the Hittites—to the great Mediterranean Sea in the west, all of it is yours. 5 No one will be able to oppose you for as long as you live. I will be with you just as I was with Moses, and I will never fail or abandon you.
6 So be strong and courageous, for you will lead this people as they acquire and then divide the land I promised to their ancestors. 7 Always be strong and courageous, and always live by all of the law I gave to my servant Moses, never turning from it—even ever so slightly—so that you may succeed wherever you go. 8 Let the words from the book of the law be always on your lips. Meditate on them day and night so that you may be careful to live by all that is written in it. If you do, as you make your way through this world, you will prosper and always find success.
9 This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go.
These words from Joshua are quite appropriate to be reading as we celebrate Memorial Day and remember those that sacrificed their very lives for our freedom. Several times in this short passage we hear the admonition: Be strong and courageous! There can be no doubt that those we remember this day were both courageous and strong. And that they used those gifts to serve a greater good and because of that, their actions echo through history well beyond the scope of their years.
The call to be strong and courageous is not just for those heading off to battle, or those faced with the call to sacrifice themselves for others. It is a call for all of us.
In the context of our faith, this call isn’t so much about physical strength, but rather the strength to persevere and to remain focused on the path to which we have been called – the path of following the law of God and the example of Jesus Christ.
We are told to be ‘Always be strong and courageous, and always live by all of the law I gave to my servant Moses, never turning from it—even ever so slightly—so that you may succeed wherever you go. ‘ What is interesting to me here, and what I think dovetails so well with our focus this day is the definition of success implied in these verses.
The passage, and the book of Joshua, begin with the death of Moses. Moses, who didn’t get to see with his own eyes the ultimate success that he devoted his life to: leading God’s people into the promised land.
And yet, no one would argue that Moses life, even with it’s twists and turns, was a success. He faithfully served God and because of the strength and courage he showed in that service, he contributed to the ultimate success of God’s plan and God’s people.
Because of Jesus, and because of God’s love and grace, even death does not mean defeat. When we are strong and courageous in the Word of the Lord, even death does not stand in the way of ‘success’ in our call to serve and of Christ’s mission.
Sharing God’s Love,
Prayer: This day when we remember those who sacrificed and died so that we might have freedom and life, we are especially thankful of the sacrifice you made for us, Jesus. Help us to be strong and courageous as we try to live into the life that you have called us to. Amen.