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June 6, 2016

The books of Deuteronomy and Joshua repeatedly call the Israelites to courage. Half a dozen times in the two books God tells His people to be courageous. As they stood poised on the brink of the promised land God commanded them to flee the fear of their parents. Instead of fearing the might of the Canaanites they were to “be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee:” (Joshua 1:7) The courage God demands of them is a courage greater than that necessary to face a warrior in hand to hand combat or to charge into a line of ten foot tall men intent on your destruction. The courage God demands is the courage to obey all His commands. For Israel this was courage to fight the armies of the Canaanites, courage to wipe out entire tribes and cities, courage to leave behind the treasures of Jericho, courage to refuse idolatry, courage to observe the Sabbath, courage to offer sacrifices and keep the feasts, courage to love God supremely and courage to love others selflessly. The people of God must have courage to obey all the commands of God.

Obedience requires courage because it is rarely the easy path. The coward will obey when it accomplishes his purposes. The lazy man will obey when it is line with his own desires. Valor is required to obey in the face of fears of possible consequences, to go against the pressure of the world and to oppose the desires of the flesh. Because this world, the flesh and Satan himself all violently resist obedience to God the Christian must be strong and very courageous. “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13) Take heart, do not be afraid, go forth to obey.

When the child of God goes out to obey His commands then God gives power and victory. He goes with His child. Jesus promised those He sent into all the world with the gospel, “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20) He never leaves nor forsake His own but works through the Holy Spirit to give the Christian the desire and abliity to obey. Though the flesh rebels against obedience and the Christian at times feels as if his obedience is worthless, God is at work. At times the people of God cry out, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” (Roman 7:18-19) Yet God works. He gives the victory. He fights on behalf of His people. He is faithful to do all He has promised. Courage! Go out in the strength of the Lord to obey all His commands.


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