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October 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“For the Lord has driven out from before you great and strong nations; but as for you, no one has been able to stand against you to this day. One man of you shall chase a thousand, for the Lord your God is He who fights for you, as He promised you. Therefore take careful heed to yourselves, that you love the LORD your God.”—Joshua 23:9-11(NKJV)
Not to dismiss God’s holiness and power, but each time I read today’s passage I see the cartoon clip of the little dog ferociously barking at whatever is threatening him, and the threat backing off at such ferocity. But then the camera pans back to reveal a bigger dog standing behind the little one—simply standing there, large and in charge, composed and commanding—the real source of the enemy’s retreat.
In Canaan, the young Israel nation had been the barking dog with a very large God as the true force and bite behind them, before them, and all around them. No one could stand against this chosen people. Joshua reminds the people that this was God’s promise of blessing for obedience (Leviticus 26:8; Deuteronomy 28:7) and encourages them to continually love the Lord their God.
We gain a great deal from Joshua’s exhortation by remembering two things: First, “All the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us” (2 Corinthians 1:20 NKJV). God’s promises through Christ and by Christ, including freedom from sin, dedication to His followers, unfailing support, peace, and everlasting life are assured. All the Lord has instructed us to do, whether by spiritual battle or surrender, is to come with His promise that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 NASB).
Second, “Therefore, take careful heed to yourselves, that you love the Lord your God” (Joshua 23:11 NKJV). Even if . . . you don’t get the job. Even if . . . your child is a prodigal. Even if . . . you lose your home. Even if . . . blessings seem only to fall on someone else. Even if, and through it all, we are to love the Lord with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds, and all our strength. Despite what we think is happening on this earthly realm, God is working, and His promise to give us the desires of our hearts come to life when we make Him the desire of our heart.
As contemporary Christians, we might not literally lift up our trumpets and swords and follow the Lord into battle. But because of Jesus Christ, sin and death have been driven out before us and nothing can stand against us. His Word is our sword, His truth resounds. He will fight for us, so let us all walk in trust and obedience, taking careful heed to love Him.
DIG: What two lessons does Joshua teach us?
DISCOVER: Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23 BSB). Alan Redpath supports this by writing, “The test of love is not emotion or feeling or speaking, but obeying.”
DO: Keep Jesus’ and Redpath’s words in mind and spend time each day showing your love for our mighty, loving Father.
Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.