Monday, Jan 31, 2022. Good morning! Hope you have a good start into the new week. We are touching quite serious questions this morning, looking into a time when the people of Israel were heading back towards the promised Land, the region we call Palestine today.
The story is highly exciting, full of life, full of very human struggle, fear, courage, guilt, heroic characters. Let us read, and explore its meaning!
Strong and Courageous …
Moses was the great leader of the people, who brought the tribes out of Egypt. His life is usually dated into the time between 1450-1200 before Christ, depending on the interpretation of the biblical records and further historical evidence. The book of Josua talks about the end of the life of Moses, when Josua took over and was commanded to guide his people into the promised land (where they came from, but had to leave during a period of starvation).
We jump into the first chapter of the book of Josua, where God is talking to Josua himself to call him into leadership. Here is a core part of what God says to Josua:
7 ‘Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (Josua 1, 7ff)
The call to trust God, to be strong and courageous is repeated several times in this first chapter of the book. God wants full trust, and he wants Josua to act in this trust in strength and courage. When you know the will of God in a particular point, strength and courage can be the right attitude to act!
… holding the Law! …
But there are other very important side conditions named here. Josua is given the book of Moses. He is given the Law which Moses recorded at Mount Sinai. These laws are important, they are crucial! Keep the law. Follow the law. Do not turn from it to the right or to the left!
The holiness of God is a continuing theme in all biblical books. God is called love himself, justice, truth, passion. This God is holy and only in holiness he can act. Only in holiness God can interact with people. When you go against God's holiness, when you act against the law, death is to come, catastrophe, destruction.
We need to understand the words about the law properly. These words need to be understood in context of further words about the love of God towards all people. These words need to be understood in the context of God's universial goal of salvation: to bring all humans into a living relationship with the source of life, with himself. Relationship with God involves his character and holiness. When we get back into this relationship, we get to know the law from the inside, we get to know the driving force and origin of the words of the law. The law is a preparation for an encounter with the holy creator! (Roland Potthast)