Joshua 1, Psalms 120–122, Isaiah 61, Matthew 9

DateVersionReading Plan
@June 29, 2024ESV (2016)M’Cheyne Plan 2024

Joshua 1

Joshua 1:6–7a, 9, 18 (ESV) 6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. … 9 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.” … 18 Whoever rebels against your commandment and disobeys your words, whatever you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and courageous.”

There is a heavy, exhortative theme in the opening chapter of Joshua for the people to be strong and courageous because the LORD is with them. They were about to begin the process of taking possession of the promised land and were to be careful to do everything according to the law that Moses had given them. Their success would be contingent upon their trust in the LORD and obedience to His commands. Bringing this into our modern context, it is important to see how strength, courage, obedience and trust in the LORD remain ever relevant for us. Our strength comes from the LORD and, for the faithful in Christ, there is no reason to fear, even in the most harrowing of circumstances. This truly is an amazing chapter to read and ponder as I battle daily with the sin of fear, desperately needing the reminder of the victory won in Christ.

Psalms 120–122

Psalm 121:1–2 (ESV) 1 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? 2 My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

Certainly, these are some of the more well-known verses in the Bible, but they resonate closely with the reflection of the previous chapter in Joshua 1. Our help comes from the the LORD who made heaven and earth. If we abide in the One who created all things—the One who by His sacrifice defeated every adversary of sin, Satan and death—then fear shall have no residency in our hearts. Through whatever trials we face, we should speak boldly the words of Paul in Romans 8:31: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Isaiah 61

Isaiah 61:10 (ESV) 10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

Isaiah exults in the LORD for being clothed with the garments of salvation and covered in the robe of righteousness. The imagery of this as the adornment of a bridegroom and bride is profound. By His grace, Christ grants His salvation and righteousness to His bride, the church. These are not qualities we engender or possess on our own but only through our union with Him. May we then be joyfully bound to Him in covenant commitment, receiving the gift of His salvation and righteousness with all gratitude and praise.

Matthew 9

Matthew 9:29–31 (ESV) 29 Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” 30 And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, “See that no one knows about it.” 31 But they went away and spread his fame through all that district.

Something I had never caught before was Jesus’ warning to the two blind men whom He had just healed, namely that He told them to “See that no one knows about it”. Without projecting too far, it is interesting that He used the word “See” in His warning of the men who were blind only a few moments before. The Greek word here for “see” is ὁράω, which means “appear” or “become visible”, but is used in this instance as a present tense active imperative (a command). Jesus used the phrase “See that…” in several other verses throughout the NT as well (ex. Matt. 8:4; Matt. 18:10; Mark 1:44), but it seems fascinating that He would use the word “see” as part of His warning of two men whom He had just given the ability to see.