… Joshua told the commanders of his army, “Come and put your feet on [your enemies’] necks… Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged,” Joshua told his men. “Be strong and courageous, for the LORD is going to do this to all of your enemies.”
Joshua 10:24-26 NLT
The Lord’s word that came through Joshua was not about what they must DO, but how they were to BE. “Be strong and courageous…”.
Where preaching has been minimised, in traditions which give greater priority to sacramental practice than hearing God’s word, it has often been replaced with a brief homily. The homily generally takes the form of exhorting hearers to do better, whatever the gospel passage for the day is about. That’s more about man’s effort than God transformative grace.
Jesus enables us to be different. The sense of BEING new creations, learning to live in a new identity as disciples of Jesus helped by the new spirituality brought by the Holy Spirit, is foretold in the Gospels (and in the OT).
But how this new way of BEING is experienced, comes mainly from the Acts narrative and the letters to the churches written by Paul and others.
That’s why we need all the three perspectives: God’s overall purpose in the OT, Christ’s mission as set out in the four gospels, and the Holy Spirit’s enabling of that mission learned from the NT letters.
The OT points to Jesus’ coming, and the gospel accounts point to Pentecost, the life of the Spirit and Jesus’ return.
Joshua’s words were good news to his hearers: and for us, they form part of a harmony, like the bass line of the Good News ‘melody’ which we are part of, as those who have made a choice to say ‘no’ to the old independent life and belong to Jesus.
“Be strong and courageous” points to Jesus as the One in whom we get our strength and courage. So as Christians we are able to “be strong and courageous” by turning to Jesus as our Lord and relying on Him.
There is a longer version of this post Be courageous — Fresh Bread Today with a story of how this was done by the early believers, giving us a model we can follow.