Joshua 1:6 – 9[1] “Be strong and courageous for you shall divide this land as an inheritance; this land that I swore to give to your fathers.  You must be strong and very courageous, that you may do everything according to the Torah, which Moses My servant commanded you.  Do not turn away from it to the right or to the left, so that you may prosper wherever you go.  This book of the Torah shall not depart out of your mouth; but you shall meditate on the words day and night, that you may observe all that is written therein.  For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success.  Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and have good courage.  Don’t be afraid or dismayed; for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

            The above verses are contained in the directions God gave Joshua as he was about to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land.  The words, “strong, courageous, very courageous and have courage” are in these few verses.
           Was Joshua fearful as he was about to lead the Israelite nation into their land?  I don’t think he was.  He had seen all the miracles done by God through Moses from before they left Egypt and throughout the entire 40 years in the wilderness.  He had been Moses’ aide during those years and had been obedient to all that Moses had commanded him.  Exodus 33 verse 11 says that Moses’ servant Joshua remained in the tabernacle, as the LORD spoke to Moses face to face.   The LORD gave Moses directions to ordain Joshua as his successor. Numbers 27:18 – 23
            God is not a respecter of persons, Acts 10:34, and these words are not only for Joshua, but they are for us today during our dark times.  How do we stay strong in the face of great adversity?  We are to “do everything contained in God’s teachings and instructions, the word of God.  We are not to turn away to the left or to the right of His teachings.  In other words we are to keep a balanced life style.  Many people have adopted pet doctrines, either to the left (living a life of lax obedience) or to the right (living a life of rigid extremism).  When Yeshua said He came to set us free, I believe He meant that He came to set us free from both extremes.
             How do we retain a balanced life and remain observant to His teachings and instructions?  We are to ‘meditate on it day and night’.  “Your word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11  “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, for you deceive your own selves.”  James 1:22  “But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon those who fear Him, and His righteousness unto His children and their children; to those who keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandments to do them.” Psalm 103:17, 18
            Other than meditating on the Scriptures to retain our courage, there are prayers we can pray during those times of adversity that come directly from the Bible.  “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for my soul trusts in You.  Yes, in the shadow of Your wings, I will take refuge, until all these calamities pass.  I will cry out to God the Most High; to God who acts on my behalf.  He shall send me help from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up.  Selah.  God shall send forth His mercy and His truth.  My soul is among lions, I even lie down among those that are set on fire, the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.  Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be above all the earth.  They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down.  They have dug a pit for me and they have fallen into it themselves.  Selah.  My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed.  I will sing and give praise. Psalm 57:1 – 7   “God, my heart is fixed (steadfast).  I will sing and give You praise.”  Psalm 108:1 You cover me with Your feathers, and as I am under Your wings I shall completely trust in You.  Your truth is my shield and buckler.” Psalm 91:4  The word buckler is also a synonym for shield.  This tells me I am surrounded by God’s protection!
            “I do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but I wrestle against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12  “I am confident of this very thing that He which began a good work in me [us]will see to its conclusion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6  Are you confident that God will finish what He began in you?
            The word steadfast means firmly fixed or constant; unwavering, unfaltering, resolute, persistent, unswerving, and stalwart[2].  The results of being steadfast in our faith is found in Isaiah 26 verses 3 and 4; “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is fixed (steadfast) on You, because he trusts in You.  Trust in the LORD forever; for in the LORD God[3] is everlasting strength.”  Hallelujah!
            We are going to suffer, but God restores, makes us strong, firm and steadfast.  “But the God of all grace, who has called us into His eternal glory by Jesus, after you have suffered awhile, will make you perfect, establish you, strengthen you and settle you.” 1 Peter 5:10 The word “settle” means to lay the foundation, to make stable and to establish.[4]  In other words, even as we suffer we will remain steadfast in our faith and continue to be obedient to God’s teachings and instructions; we will not vacillate in our faith.  We will not doubt for one nano-second that God is not with us!
            What else will occur as we remain steadfast and obedient?  We will be fearless. “…Fear not, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will show you today.  For the Egyptians (a metaphor for your enemies) whom you see today, you shall never see them again.  The LORD shall fight for you; you shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:13,14
            “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.  They are brought down and fallen; but we are raised up and stand upright.” Psalm 20: 7,8
          Be courageous!  Be very courageous!  The LORD fights for us.  We will NOT trust in chariots and horses (the strength and inventions of man used for destruction), we will trust in the name of the LORD.  “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it, and are safe.” Proverbs 18:10
            The plans of the LORD are firmly planted.  “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.  He gathers the water of the sea together as a heap; and He lays up the deep in storehouses.  Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.  For He spoke and it was done.  He commanded and it stood steadfast.  The LORD brings the counsel of the heathen to nothing; he makes the devices of the people to have no effect. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations.  Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people He has chosen for His inheritance.”  Psalm 33:6 – 12
            Be encouraged!  Yes, we all go through tough times.  God is in charge no matter how dark it becomes around us.
God is still on the throne,
And He will remember His own;
Tho’ trials may press us and burdens distress us,
He never will leave us alone;
God is still on the throne,
He never forsaketh His own;
His promise is true, He will not forget you,
God is still on the throne.[5]
 Jane Owens
© 2013
[1] All scripture from is paraphrased from the KJV)
[2] Encarta Dictionary
[3] The name of God Yahweh or Yahveh
[4] Strong’s Concordance G2311
[5] Refrain from hymn “God is Still On The Throne” by Kittie Suffield 1884 – 1972.  Copied from the website Cyber Hymnal  http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/g/i/gisontth.htm

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