Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:7-9
But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses. And I charge you before God, who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus, who gave a good testimony before Pontius Pilate, that you obey this command without wavering. Then no one can find fault with you from now until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. For, at just the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. He alone can never die, and he lives in light so brilliant that no human can approach him. No human eye has ever seen him, nor ever will. All honor and power to him forever! Amen. 1 Timothy 6:11-16 (NLT)
Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you .... If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you .... But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name .... So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you. 1 Peter 4:12, 14, 16, 19
Our Joshua 1 passage above mentions a book of instruction written by Moses. It is widely accepted that Moses penned the first 5 books of the Old Testament which are usually called either the Pentateuch or the Torah. Joshua is the 6th book of the Bible and so it is the first portion of Scripture not attributed to Moses. The book of instruction from Moses is the center piece of the Pentateuch. It is all that God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai in the wilderness. Moses put down in writing God's instructions for his people as a constitution of sorts for how Israel, "a people for God's own possession," must live their lives as a nation directly under the rule of God (Theocracy) in the promised land. God is speaking to Joshua about this book of instruction (The law - old covenant) and is making it very clear that full obedience to it is the key to Israel's prosperity and success in the promised land.
Romans 15:4 says, "For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." It is the apostle Paul who says this, so, "earlier times" is not referring to the New Testament but the Old Testament. This juncture in the story of Israel that we are looking at in Joshua 1 is quite instructive for us today. Moses' book of instruction has features that were just for Israel under the old covenant and it has features that are more universal. But if we are looking for what is instructive from our passage for us today, it is the emphasis on obedience to God and the words he has spoken.
We are not under the old covenant but under the new covenant. Earlier in the week we said the time has come for us to leave our wilderness and enter into experiencing our relationship with Christ in all its fullness so that he is free to transition us fully from the old life to the new life. This is where the focus of our obedience needs to be as ones who are under the new covenant. If the words of Joshua 1 help us go forward in obedience to what God has for us, then that which was written for Israel in earlier times will have accomplished what it was supposed to accomplish for us today.
In the 1 Timothy passage above the Apostle Paul is encouraging Timothy to go forward in full obedience to all that God has for him, when he says, "Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you." The 1 Peter passage above reminds us that trials and testings come to those who obediently keep seeking to do what is right, but it also reminds us of God's sustaining presence with these words: "trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you."
Lord, thank you for your words from earlier times. Help me become a more obedient person. Help me to know your Word better so I can know you better and so I can better know all you want to accomplish with my life through your indwelling presence.
Posted on Sat, June 13, 2015
by Alan Porter