Ever felt like God keeps putting a verse right in front of you? So, what do you do when Scripture keeps slapping you in the face? I mean it, what do you do?
I’m the kind of woman that says, “Yeah, that’s a great verse,” until I realize that I’ve seen it 3 or 4 times in 24 hours. Then I have to wonder why it keeps popping up. And then, I have to ask, “What exactly are You trying to say to me?”
So, here’s the verse: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (ESV).
Maybe you don’t know this yet, but right now, I’m pretty fearful. Remember that I prayed that God would give me a booming ministry? If not, you can read about it here. Anyway, that was only a little over a month ago. Now I am seeing the beginnings of that answer, and it is terrifying.
I was shocked when my pastor said “yes” to my suggestion that we have a women’s conference at the church. I was shocked that he was ok with me leading that conference. I’m not in a leadership position there. As people go, I’m kind of a nobody.
So, when he said “yes” my emotions were both positive and negative. Surely this is what I prayed for, but since I expected him to say “no,” I felt like I would be justified in not continuing the pursuit. Yes, people, I do look for ways out of what I’m supposed to do. I suspect I’m not the only one.
Anyway, that verse was in front of me right before I asked, like literally within 30 mins of gearing up to drive over there and talk to him. I’ve seen it repeatedly since. And so, as a self-professed student of the Word, I need to dig deeper.
Will you join me?
First, I looked up commanded. It’s the Hebrew (6680) tsaw-vawh, which means to constitute, enjoin. Then I grabbed my 1907 Webster’s and looked up constitute: “to establish, to form or compose; to appoint; to determine.” And, I also wanted to know the specifics on enjoin- “to lay upon, as an order; to order or direct with authority.”
So essentially, hasn’t God established, formed us, appointed us and ordered us with His authority to be strong and courageous? Of course, I’m now wondering what that looks like, having realized that when I fail to be strong and courageous I am also being defiant. Thank God, His strength is made perfect in my weakness right now.
Still studying, I find that strong (2388) is khaw-zak, meaning to fasten upon, to seize, be strong (fig. courageous, caus. strengthen, cure, help, repair, fortify), obstinate, to bind, restrain, conquer. Those are interesting definitions and descriptions.
Sometimes being strong is sticking your heels in and refusing to be moved. Sometimes it means binding things from your life and restraining your flesh from its natural motivations and assumptions. It isn’t necessarily the big forearm muscle strength we always envision, though the word means that as well.
Of course, that made me wonder why courageous was included since it was part of the definition of strong. That research revealed, courageous (553) aw-mats’, is to be alert physically or mentally. That makes sense to me because the greatest battlefield I experience is within my mind. How ’bout you?
Maybe then He has appointed us and formed us to obstinately restrain and conquer those things that wage war in our heads. Hmmm….reminds me of the verse that tells us to take all our thoughts captive and make them submit to Christ.
I suppose I could go on, but I think I got the point. Did you?
Feature picture credit goes to: Timothy Tsui (Flickr)