I could not sleep last night and that is just not like me. If you asked my husband, he would tell you that I can fall asleep faster than anyone. So, for me to toss and turn and be unable to sleep is unusual.
Now, I did not hear an audible voice like Samuel. However, after struggling for about 45 minutes and still being unable to sleep, I did think that maybe the Lord was trying to speak to me. So, I sat up and got my Bible out and picked up where I had left off…the book of Joshua.
In Joshua 1, the Lord speaks to Joshua and gives him his new assignment. All this time he had been Moses’ assistant…some translations use the term aide or even servant. However, with the death of Moses, Joshua is thrust into the leadership role and much is expected of him.
Here is the part I find so wonderful…this first chapter of Joshua is like a pep talk from God Himself. And there are several things that I was able to take away from it regarding different things I am dealing with at the moment. It’s as if God really was trying to tell me something last night. He gave me that restlessness so that He could speak to me through His Word. Okay, Stacy, enough worrying. Enough anxiety. Let’s talk.
- As I was with Moses, so I will be with you…verse 5…We were told in the end of Deuteronomy that, since Moses, there was not a prophet whom the Lord knew face to face. We would be very much wrong, however, if we thought that the Lord was any less with Joshua than He was with Moses. He just spoke to Joshua differently. He also is very much with us. We may not hear Him actually speak, but His presence is very much with us. In the 5 weeks that I have been reading through the Bible, I feel like God has definitely used His Word to give me direction, to teach me deeper truths and to encourage me of His continued love and presence.
- I have always had a fondness for the King James Version. Having been raised in a little Independent Baptist church, it was all I knew until I was in my 20’s. I have, since then, read and truly enjoyed some other translations. However, there are some verses that just stand out to me in the KJV. The latter part of Joshua 1:5 is one of them…I will not fail thee. One thing I have been struggling with lately is my role as a mother. Sometimes, I am just overcome with anxiety about the future and I worry that I will not have done enough to prepare my daughters for what awaits them. I worry that I will fail them by not being able to protect them from all the dangers and heartaches that this world has to offer. So, to read this verse when this particular worry is weighing so heavy on my heart…it just meant so much. God will not fail me and He will not fail my children. He is able to protect them from evils that I know nothing about. He is able to comfort them and catch their tears when I am no longer around. I am human and will, at some point, fail them. I will disappoint them. Not so with God. He will never fail them. That brought me such comfort. We can, with confidence, place our children in His hands and know that there is no better place for them to be.
- Be strong and courageous…verse 6, 7 and 9…The Lord really wanted Joshua to get this. He said it three times. I feel like He was telling it to me, as well. I have really been feeling led to do some sort of teaching. I don’t know if I’m supposed to teach a Sunday School class or if I’m supposed to teach a Wednesday night class. Or, maybe, something completely different. I am still seeking direction. I am certain, however, that God is telling me to be strong and courageous because I have an absolute fear of speaking in a group. I do not speak out in Sunday School. I do not pray out loud unless it is with my girls. So, the thought of teaching seems insane…which makes me think it is not my idea, but God’s leading.
- Do not turn from God’s commands…verse 7…I found this very interesting. Why does God not want Joshua (or us) to turn from His commands?…that thou may prosper…Now, many people today equate prosperity with wealth. However, the notes in my Bible for this verse define “prosper” as to have success or act wisely. That last part caught my attention. God wants us to follow His commands for many reasons: because He knows best, to show our trust, etc. But another reason is so that we can act wisely. When I pray for my girls, I often pray that God would give me wisdom in how I raise them, how I answer their questions and how I tell them about God. The Bible tells us that “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” and wisdom is just one of the many ways we are rewarded for seeking Him. My husband told me recently that there were a couple instances over the last couple of months that he felt like I had given him sound, godly advice. I don’t know that he could have given me a better compliment. I know, without a doubt, that I was only able to do that because I have been in the Word more than any time in the past and have been truly seeking to know Him more.
- …the Lord your God is giving you rest…verse 13…Sometimes it’s hard to rest. We can become overwhelmed with this life and lose our focus. God is very aware of our human limitations. The Israelites had been wandering for years. They had endured various battles. They had just lost their beloved Moses. The Lord knew what they needed and He knows what we need…rest. Beth Moore addresses this in the study I am currently taking, Stepping Up: A Journey Through the Psalms of Ascent. In Psalm 127:2…It is vain for you to rise early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so He giveth His beloved sleep. God does not want me to sit up late worrying. He does not want me spending my days full of sorrow for the future. The Lord gives rest, not just from work, but from worry. He gives His beloved sleep…
You have put more joy and rejoicing in my heart than they know when their wheat and new wine have yielded abundantly. In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You, Lord, alone make me dwell in safety and confident trust. – Psalm 4:7-8