The first chapter of Joshua is chock-a-block full of encouragement and challenge. In it, the Lord commissions Joshua, because he will continue the work that Moses began, to lead God’s people into the land God promised them. Three times in the commission that’s recorded there, the Lord encourages Joshua to be strong and of good courage.

In looking for each of those instances, you might get distracted from also noticing a simple word choice with volumes of teaching inside. Verse 8 says

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success.”

God instructed Joshua, encouraging him with the promise that He would never leave him or forsake him (v.5) and He made it clear that His Word was complete — there were no new laws to be added, no new statutes to become a part of the Pentateuch, those first five books which made up the sum total of the Law, even when the “law” was spoken of in the times of Jesus. And this completed word was to be in Joshua’s mouth, a challenge and encouragement to the people, to trust the God who’d delivered them from slavery to see the work of establishing them in a new land through to completion.

And so it is with us, with the Word that we have today.

These Words are the things we should be thinking about. The things we should be speaking about. In a day and time when speaking the Word, even to a fellow Christian, can feel confrontational, it is good to be reminded that this double-edged sword, this glorious treasure, these ancient words, and a powerful tool when properly wielded by our tongues — more powerful than whatever might come from our own thoughts and hearts.

There is power when the Word is in our mouths, bringing comfort to the afflicted, hope to the hopeless, challenge and correction to a brother or sister who is struggling, kindness and mercy to the brokenhearted. With this Word we declare freedom to the captives, healing to the brokenhearted, liberty to the oppressed, the gospel to the poor and recovery of sight to the blind. We proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord as the Word of God speaks through our mouths. (Luke 4:18-19)

What a glorious privilege it is to learn the Word, to hide it in our hearts, and share it and think on it together. {Ann Voskamp wrote a beautiful post about this here.}

By the end of Joshua 1, the people are committing to follow Joshua’s lead, and they end with God’s Words in their mouths: “Wherever you send us we will go…only be strong and of good courage.”

Be strong and of good courage today, friends. Let the Word be in your mouth. The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.