Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Be strong and courageous!

Generations of good hearted believers have been sent into action, into martyrdom or monasticism, mission or church planting with the LORD's words to Joshua ringing in their ears. Be strong and courageous. But will it really do to cast ourselves as Joshua in this story? Like David vs. Goliath?

Joshua is Moses' heir which immediately makes him something of a saviour for his people.

Moreover he is promised successful conquest not just of a strip of land but from the Med to the Euphrates....  more land that the people ever had, even at the height of Solomon's reign. Joshua is promised the world, if he will be devoted to the word of the LORD.
" Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success."
Read your Bible's Oh Heroes! Or, perhaps that means to cast him as a King (Deut 17)? For the King will hold to the law, never wavering from trust in the LORD. The King whose LORD will always be with him...

The people cry that they will obey Joshua, as their fathers did Moses.
"Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Joshua 1:7-8 ESV)
Trust him and live, distrust and die. This is faith in a Saviour not about dutiful obedience. The people have faith in their Saviour King, the LORD and his Anointed... though they'll waver.

If I'm Joshua who must obey me? If I'm the people, who do I obey? To obey is surely to trust the Saviour, as the people entrusted themselves to Joshua. Joshua, the one whose name is Jesus....

(Some say it's about me not Jesus.... but we can't just read ourselves into a text.
Some will say I'm reading Jesus into the text... but the Scriptures are about him before they're about us, and they're only for us because they're about him. He casts his shadow over all the Scriptures and it's good exegesis to see how.)

Having a saviour who can take the land is good news cos honestly I'm weak and fearful. He however trusts his Father and his Father was always with him - bar one moment when he was forsaken, and that for me.

With Jesus it's not "come and see how good I look" as Ron Burgundy would say. It's not I can do it... it's see what he has done. Joshua is a type of the true Joshua, imperfect and only a shadow, but a shadow nonetheless, who will enter into the land alongside the the Commander of the LORD's Army, Joshua and Jesus together.

10 comments:

  1. Typology really is a way of life! Thank you Bish, tasty and heartwarming as always.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure we therefore shouldn't take biblical heed from the command to be strong and courageous here, if that is what you're saying. It fits in with the biblical narrative that if we trust in our Saviour we shouldn't be afraid, as is an oft repeated refrain. If the reasoning is because in context and in the meta-narrative, Joshua is a type of Jesus, which I think you're right in saying, then casting ourselves as Jesus, aside from the obvious heretical overtones there, isn't such a bad idea. I mean, casting ourselves as suffering servants is what we're exhorted to do right? Why not take heed from this little gem in Joshua given the way of the Cross we must follow in light of Jesus?

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. Beware balance! There is a proper gospel motivation on the far side of Christ alone. But trying to balance on the near side of Christ alone is, what Mike Horton calls, Go-law-spel.

      As I've said below, we can definitely be heirs of Joshua's comfort (Heb 13:5) and therefore it's not wrong to preach "be courageous" to people. But it's not a case of balancing a pep-talk with some other gospel motivations (like sticks and carrots). It's a case of proclaiming the true Joshua who has entered into rest as our Forerunner, and we in Him. And since we've entered into that true rest, irreversibly and unshakeably, we can enter into our little mission field, can't we? Be strong. Be courageous. Christ *has* conquered and you go clothed in Him.

      Like I say, there's a well-balanced approach to these things, but it comes on the other side of a radical Christ-centredness that does indeed *begin* with Jesus.

      Delete
    4. Glen, this is what I was trying to say but failed. Thank you!

      Delete
    5. :) On this subject, just came across an older post on taking the pastoral application of the OT *because* we've seen the original Christological intent of the Hebrew Scriptures:

      http://christthetruth.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/its-for-us-cos-its-about-him/

      #shamelessselfpromotion

      Delete
    6. 'since we've entered into that true rest, irreversibly and unshakeably, we can enter into our little mission field, can't we? Be strong. Be courageous. Christ *has* conquered and you go clothed in Him' - YES!! Preach it : )

      Delete
  2. Hebrews 13:5 - certainly we can be heirs of Joshua's comfort. But Hebrews first teaches us who Joshua is - Hebrews 4.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ephesians 6 is helpful here isn't it? It has obvious conquest and Joshua 1 overtones:

    'Be strong IN the Lord'

    Not simply 'be strong and courageous'
    Not simply 'Let go and let Jesus'
    Not even '50% you, 50% Jesus' or some other halfway house/ balance/ semi-pelagianism
    But 'be strong IN the Lord'

    We fight (an anachronistic and hopeless enemy, in the skirmishes of a war that has already been won) and we can only fight clothed in the Messiah's battle armour (because we're clothed in him).

    ReplyDelete
  4. "in" is so important - especially in Ephesians.
    Ephesians 6 makes much more sense when it's the church clothed in Christ not an individual taking a stand.

    ReplyDelete