|6||Be strong and courageous|
|7||be strong and very courageous|
|7||be careful to do according to all the law…|
|8||be careful to do according to all that is written in it…|
|9||Be strong and courageous|
|18||be strong and courageous|
Between the second and third exhortations the Lord commands Joshua to be careful to obey the Word of God, twice. In Hebrew – well actually, in the Bible – repetition is emphasis. Here it is strong.
In the midst of four exhortations to be strong and courageous Joshua is commanded to be careful to obey the Word of God. Think of the context. Joshua is taking over the leadership of Israel from Moses. He is about to lead the nation in battle to take the land that God has promised Israel.
The advice, the key for Joshua is to obey the Word of God. Immediate application, if we are going to lead as a believer, we have to be continually – the book not departing from our mouth continually – in the Word of God.
It is instructive to me that this command is surrounded by the exhortation to be strong and courageous. It is my experience in the past 40 years of being engaged in ministries of various types, that a leader’s being in the Word is continually under attack. It takes dogged determination in the face of multiple assaults for one to remain in and obey the Word of God.
There are pressures, many pressures not to do so. Pressures of time, pressures of others expectations, pressures of the culture telling you that the Word is no longer relevant, pressures of “Christians” telling you that the Word is no longer relevant, pressures to cut corners in your study in order to do “your job.”
This is not a trivial exhortation that God is giving Joshua. We do well to take note. If it is the case that we are to lead and we are not doggedly determined to be in and obey the Word, then what may I ask are we doing that is more important? What is it that one could share from their own thoughts that would be better than the Word of God? If I am engaged in ministry with or to someone and the Bible is not central in that interaction, what in the heck am I talking about?
Sadly, I know and have observed those who are in ministry who perhaps have not read this passage lately. Pray for your leaders. Pray that they would take this command to heart.