Follow the path2
Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
- Joshua 1:6-7
The Lord has given Joshua – and us – a path. The path runs marked with dangers over the miles. Few walk it without turning aside, getting distracted, or stumbling into one of the ditches that run along either side. But the path remains.
Jesus walked this path for our sake and all kinds of goodness and mercy flowed into the world as a result of his obedience. He was careful to obey all the law. When tempted, the law was on his lips. He followed the path that had been marked out by Moses straight to the cross. And we’re grateful that he did.
In today’s passage, we hear the Lord draw Joshua’s attention to this path. Living in challenging times, we can struggle to know what to do, how to live, and how to behave. Joshua knew first-hand the devastating consequences that come when people try to live life off of the path that the Lord’s laid out for them.
Challenging times can make us tentative or foolish. We know the land around us is littered with mines. One misstep could wreak havoc, so we slow down until we’re frozen. Or worse, we bluster about doing damage unnecessarily. Moving with confidence and wisdom requires a clear path.
The Lord has shown us how he wants us to live. The early Christians were called “followers of the Way” or just “the Way.” Love God and your neighbors and your enemies. Forgive even as you’ve been forgiven. Treat others the way you’d want to be treated. Treat who are hurting or are in need with the same compassion you’d treat Christ. Honor your parents. Don’t put God’s stamp on things he hasn’t put his stamp on. Pray. That’s a start. The path is not complicated.
In uncertain times we can be strong and courageous because the Lord who has promised to be with us and who has great purposes for us has given to us a path to walk. A thousand and one details about the path may be shrouded in impenetrable fog, but we know enough to take another step. And another step. And another. We may not know all the twists and turns that the path will take, but we know where it ultimately leads and we know who walks it with us.
When have you followed God’s path in uncertain times? How did God use your small steps of obedience to strengthen and encourage you in the midst of uncertainty?