OK, today I'm delving into some bits I've gotten from Joshua:
In the beginning of the book, God makes it clear to Joshua exactly what He wants him to do, that is, lead the Israelites into the land God has promised to them. Wouldn't that be nice to know without any question that you are doing what God wants you to do? God says, "obey me and you will succeed, I will never leave you, be strong and courageous, I have given the land to you." (this is while they're still in the desert, mind you) The implication is that there will be a need for strength and courage. Interesting, don't you think? I mean, if God is fighting with them, and He says He's given the land to them, isn't it surprising to read that they'll need to be courageous and strong?
Before reading through the book of Joshua, I think I pictured the wall of Jericho tumbling down, and ta-da! the Israelites got their Promised Land. I'm learning however, that there were many battles, lots of fighting for at least a couple of weeks after that. (I'm still only on the tenth chapter, lots more to go, and I don't know what's coming...) God helped them conquer all this territory, but still, they had to fight. They had to whack away with their swords. With strength and courage. He was there, but they were not sitting on the couch watching all the action, they were in it, baby! How much more the Israelites must have appreciated what they'd been given. The Promised Land was not handed over on a silver platter.
It makes me think of what Jesus has given to us. His death has given us victory over Satan, and a way to be with God. Jesus said "it is finished" just before He died. What was finished? The fight for our lives. It's already won, already been given to us. (and it may not seem so, just like it probably didn't seem to the Israelites that the land had "been given" to them on, oh, about day 5 of walking around the wall at Jericho.) But victory has been given to us, regardless of how we're feeling about it.
I don't think we get to sit on the couch and watch the action, either. There will still be a need for courage and strength on our part. Even when we're certain that we're doing what He wants us to do! Sometimes battles and fights can make us question if we're being obedient, if we're really where He wants us. Sometimes the challenges can help redirect us. But sometimes, they are just an opportunity for us to get in it, baby! So be strong and courageous, He will never leave us.