His Work and Ours

Author: Mike Hurley — Host: Dylan KraayenbrinkPosted on: February 20, 2024

Unlocked: Daily Devotions for Teens
Unlocked: Daily Devotions for Teens
His Work and Ours
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READ: JOSHUA 1:1-9; EPHESIANS 2:8-10

Joshua was given a monumental task. He was told to lead his people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River to their new home, the Promised Land. This happened directly after the death of Moses, the one who had led the Israelites out of Egypt and through the desert for forty years to the brink of the Promised Land. God told Joshua to be “strong and courageous” in Joshua 1:6, again in verse 7, and once more in verse 9.

The Promised Land was agriculturally rich and highly desirable, which is why there were already tribes of people there. Joshua’s task was formidable: lead a massive group of people with no military training into a hostile land. But God’s command to Joshua to be “strong and courageous” is not a mere platitude. It’s based in something solid and unmovable.

You see, before God told Joshua to be strong and courageous, He told Joshua what He Himself had already done: “I have given you every place where the sole of your foot treads” (Joshua 1:3). Because God had done His part, Joshua could be strong and courageous as he followed God’s command to lead the people into the Promised Land. Joshua understood the difference between what he was commanded to do and what the Lord had already done.

This truth is also the basis of the gospel. We, too, can learn to understand the difference between what God commands us to do and what God has already done. While God does command us to follow in His good ways, our very best works, full of good intentions for others, will do nothing to save us. Kind words, strong morals, helping little old ladies across a street—these are all good things, but none of them will save us from sin and death. It is only the finished work of Christ that can accomplish that. Jesus’s perfect sacrifice, made out of His unending love for us, paves the way. It is His death and resurrection that makes the way for us to be saved. Let’s never confuse what God wants us to do with what He has already done. • Mike Hurley

• God does not command us to save ourselves. Rather, He made the way to save us through Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection. (You can find out more about this good news on our “Know Jesus” page.) Those who know Jesus are forgiven and made right with God, and we are also empowered by the Holy Spirit, who helps us follow God in every area of our lives. How could resting in what God has done for us help us be “strong and courageous” as we follow in His good ways?

“Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (CSB) 

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