"Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
- Joshua 1:9
I’ll never forget the day I first became a father. After a couple of trips to the hospital and several hours of difficult labor, the doctor broke the news: The baby would have to be delivered by C-section. And after we welcomed our first baby girl into the world, my wife Christine spent some time in recovery while I waited with our girl. At last mama and baby were settled into her room … and I was getting really hungry. So, with Christine’s permission, I made a quick trip to the drive-through and picked up a burger to celebrate. Half an hour later, I was back at the hospital with my wife and new daughter, enjoying my tasty meal.
Fast-forward two and a half years. Once again, we were in the O.R., having our second baby delivered by C-section. And after our new little girl was all cleaned up and placed in the nursery, Christine was still in recovery. But now I was an experienced dad – I knew the way things worked, and I knew I had at least 30 to 45 minutes before my wife would be out of recovery. Plenty of time to grab that burger … right? But when I returned with my fast-food bag in hand, Christine was waiting alone in her room. My heart dropped. She’d been sure I wouldn’t leave her and the baby. She gave me an earful, and I deserved it. It was a defining moment in my marriage, and suffice it to say I didn’t make the same mistake with daughters #3 and #4.
Yes, over the years I’ve had my fair share of foibles as a husband and as a father. This makes me so very grateful for the godly examples of husbands and fathers in Scripture—men like Joshua. Clearly, the LORD had special plans for Joshua. And as the Israelites reached the promised land, his faith was put to the test. Of the twelve spies Moses sent ahead to check out their new home, Joshua and Caleb were the only two who had faith in God. As a result, they were the only two who didn’t die of a plague that God sent on the other ten spies. And they were the only middle-aged men who were allowed to enter the promised land. Every other man who was at least twenty years old when the Exodus from
died in the desert. Joshua understood a lesson we all should remember: There is no need to fear men when the LORD
is with us. So walk by faith, not by sight. Egypt
Then, after forty years of faithfully serving as Moses’ right-hand man, Joshua was assigned to embark on a mission that would have completely intimidated most men. Moses died at the ripe old age of 120, and God chose Joshua to be
’s next leader. His first
task? To lead the Israelites in the conquest of the promised land. The walls
around the enemy cities were tall and thick. The residents of the cities were
big and intimidating—after all, Goliath’s ancestors lived there. But when push
came to shove, the only thing that really mattered was the truth that God
revealed to Joshua: “No one will be able to stand up against you all the days
of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave
you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5). So, with that truth settled, the only thing
left for Joshua to do was to courageously obey. When we are in the center of God’s will, there is no room for fear.
There is only room for strength and courageous obedience. Israel
Joshua did all that God commanded him to do. Over the next fifty years or so, Joshua courageously led the Israelites in conquest of the promised land. They took possession of the land flowing with milk and honey. And at the ripe old age of 110, Joshua’s life was about to end. So, he called the tribal leaders together for one last pep talk. Joshua knew that the people of
would continue to be tempted
to turn their backs on God. So, as this group of influential men gathered to
listen to their wise old leader, this is what Joshua said to them: “Now fear
the LORD and serve Him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your
forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Israel , and serve the LORD. But if
serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day
whom you will serve…. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Egypt
Throughout his entire adult life, Joshua had faithfully served the Lord. But he understood something that many other men in Scripture didn’t understand. It’s not just about ME serving the Lord faithfully. I must do my very best to lead my FAMILY to serve the Lord faithfully. Many Christian dads wonder: Should I require my family to pray and read the Bible together? The answer is…YES. Should I make my kids go to church with me, even if they’re teenagers? If they live under your roof, then YES. Should I restrict my teens from watching movies, visiting websites and listening to music that is filled with profanity and mocks God? ABSOLUTELY!
You see, we only have a short time to shape our kids’ character before they move out and begin lives of their own. So, like Joshua we should say, we MUST say, “As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Taking this stand could be your next defining moment.
Dane Davis is the Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville. For more information, visit www.YourVictorvilleChurch.com and join us for worship Sundays at 10 a.m.