Hi. Welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host of the daily challenges. Today is Tuesday, the day we study the Bible together. This week we’re going to study how God builds people up, and encourages his people. The story we’ll study happens at the end of Israel’s journey toward the promised land under the leadership of Moses. During that time they’d been through some difficult trials, and God came through and provided for them. They had made some big mistakes as well, and God had been patient, but also punished them by delaying their entry into the promised land. He said that the adult generation alive during their rebellion against God would never enter the promised land, including Moses. But the day was finally coming, when they would finally cross the Jordan River into the land God had promised their poor, homeless nation of former slaves:
After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. 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. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
And Joshua commanded the officers of the people, “Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, ‘Prepare your provisions, for within three days you are to pass over this Jordan to go in to take possession of the land that the LORD your God is giving you to possess.’” (Joshua 1:1-11 ESV)
How many times did he tell them to be strong and courageous? It’s the heart of this passage, and the heart of the word, “encourage” – to give courage.
For over a generation, about forty years, Israel have been used to wandering as nomads in the desert, constantly forgetting and rejecting God’s help. For 300 years before that they were slaves in Egypt. They are a people whose spirit has been broken over and over again, who have already proven themselves afraid of military engagement, and eager to give up and go back to slavery the moment something goes wrong.
Throughout it all God stuck with them, remained patient, and continued moving them toward the Promised Land.
Question: Why do you think God needed to provide so much encouragement now that they were finally on the threshold of all he’d promised?