S (Scripture): Joshua 1:1 After Moses the Lord’s servant died, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant: 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Get ready! Cross the Jordan River! Lead these people into the land which I am ready to hand over to them. 3 I am handing over to you every place you set foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the wilderness in the south to Lebanon in the north. It will extend all the way to the great River Euphrates in the east (including all of Syria) and all the way to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5 No one will be able to resist you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not abandon you or leave you alone. 6 Be strong and brave! You must lead these people in the conquest of this land that I solemnly promised their ancestors I would hand over to them. 7 Make sure you are very strong and brave! Carefully obey all the law my servant Moses charged you to keep! Do not swerve from it to the right or to the left, so that you may be successful in all you do.
O (Observation): Joshua assumes leadership of God’s people, ordained by God. In the midst of this “transfer” some expectations are set.
Be strong and brave! Do not swerve from the Law. Obey the Law, like Moses! You must lead this people in the conquest of this land.
That’s a tall order…but Joshua is not left to his own devices to see that he is obedient.
Instead, we also see God’s actions in these word today:
- God promises to hand the land over to God’s people
- “As I was with Moses, so I’ll be with you.”
- “I will not abandon you or leave you.”
God remains a constant in Joshua’s life. Joshua knows that God is with him. Joshua can only be obedient in as much as God is with him, reminding Joshua of who and whose he is. Joshua is God’s.
A (Application): Believe it or not, we are all called into the challenge of Joshua. We are not called to claim land promsied by God; rather, we are all called, in baptism, to live out God’s peace and justice in all the earth.
That means that in some cases, we stand with the marginalized, which can be unpopular. That means that in some cases, we take actions or say words (for the cause of peace and justice) that will surely bring criticism or fear into our sphere.
Should those challenges cause us to change our courses of action? Certainly not!
But how will we be sustained?!? The same thing that causes us to move forward for the sake of peace and justice is also that which unites us with God: our baptism.
God called Moses and Joshua to lead, to step forward. God calls us, as well, through baptism. And while our baptism urges us to stand for peace and justice, we are also sustained by the gift of the Holy Spirit to be with us as we step forward.
We are urged onward, but with the help and guidance of the Spirit. We are called and we are equipped. Fear not. God is with you!
P (Prayer): Lord, we are unsure and uncertain. Remind us of our baptism. Guide us. Love us. Protect us. Amen.