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The DEEP

Creative Communication

Watch for it.

Joshua 1:16–18

Then they answered Joshua, “Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the LORD your God be with you as he was with Moses. Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey it, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!”

This response shows that the people are fully on board with Joshua’s commissioning by Moses as his successor.

So the LORD said to Moses, “Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit of leadership, and lay your hand on him.” … Then he laid his hands on him and commissioned him, as the LORD instructed through Moses. — Numbers 27:18, 23

In fact, they seem to be too on board. Threatening to put people to death is over the top. They don’t need to say that. Joshua is great but he hasn’t done any miracles yet. Moses was miracle city.

Chalk this up to simple excitement and patriotism. They’re pumped, and they fully support Joshua. So they not only pledge their support, they pledge to force everyone else to support him too. It’s a bit silly, but pep rallies can get like that.

Then comes the punchline. Only be strong and courageous! Gee, that sounds familiar. That’s because that line was in verses 6, 7, and 9.

Except that line wasn’t said by people; it was the LORD talking only to Joshua. So, there’s no way that these folks heard the LORD say those words. Their use of them now is amazing. Joshua must have been startled when he heard them say that.

Then he smiled.


This has to be super encouraging to Joshua because the hand of God is so obvious in what just happened. There’s no way that was a random coincidence. God had repeated the message three times, which in that culture is super-emphasizing it. Now, through another channel, He says it again. He’s telling Joshua to take this to heart big time. The emphasis is almost comical, like God saying, “Did I say you need to be strong and courageous?”

This may seem like a strange way for God to send encouragement to Joshua, but God is boundlessly creative in the way He communicates with His servants. This leads to an advanced lesson.

The process of sanctification involves our eyes opening—mainly opening to seeing sin, particularly our own sin. That’s important, because seeing our sin, and thus being equipped to battle it, is essential.

But another facet of this is picking up on God’s creative communication to us.

Keep your eyes open for this.


These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/community

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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