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Espresso Your Faith


Espresso Expression by Flickr User Rob Murray, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike

Espresso Expression by Flickr User Rob Murray, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, Share Alike
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original image and to access the user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

Life is like a cup of coffee. Whether people like it bold and strong, very mild, or full of any variety of flavorings; we drink it in a style that is pleasing to each individual palate. With coffee opinions as varied as coffee beans, there are those who feel that the way they drink their coffee is the only way anyone should drink it. We may not agree, but we can admire their passion, and sometimes we can give their chosen concoction a try. Me, I like a lot of extra flavoring in my coffee, but I also like the punch of an espresso shot to leave that lingering coffee taste in my mouth.

In today’s reading from Deuteronomy 31:7 through Deuteronomy 31:9, we have just three short verses, but they’re all about the way some people like their coffee: strong and bold. Here’s the text from The Complete Jewish Bible

Next Moshe summoned Y’hoshua and, in the sight of all Isra’el, said to him, “Be strong, be bold, for you are going with this people into the land Adonai swore to their ancestors he would give them. You will be the one causing them to inherit it. But Adonai — it is he who will go ahead of you. He will be with you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you, so don’t be afraid or downhearted.”

Then Moshe wrote down this Torah and gave it to the cohanim, the descendants of Levi who carried the ark with the covenant of Adonai, and to all the leaders of Isra’el.

(Note: Y’hoshua = Joshua; Isra’el = Israel; Adonai = The Lord or Yahveh; Torah = word; and cohanim = priests)

Moses knows the future of Israel based on his past experience and on the prophetic words God has given him. He knows Joshua will need to be strong and bold for a number of reasons. He will need to be…

  • strong to fight the enemy
  • bold to lead the people
  • strong to resist sin
  • bold to stand against false gods
  • strong to encourage the people
  • bold to discourage the enemy
  • strong in his faith to trust God
  • bold in his witness to testify to Israel and others

Joshua will need to think like a cup of espresso in every area of his life. Hot water can only make him stronger, and brewing under pressure will prepare him for things like his future battle at Jericho. But, no matter how strong and bold he is, and even with the word that he is the one helping Israel to inherit their promise, Joshua must never forget to keep it in the boundaries of knowing that God is the One truly leading them. God is the One he must trust to never leave nor abandon him or Israel. Espresso outside the cup wouldn’t be much good (unless you like licking the counter), and Joshua’s boldness outside of God would not have what Israel needs to claim their inheritance.

At the end of the Torah, Scripture picks up in the first chapter of Joshua with more on these commands and encouragements to Joshua. Here’s what it says in verses 5-9 (CJB)…

No one will be able to withstand you as long as you live. Just as I was with Moshe, so I will be with you. I will neither fail you nor abandon you.

“Be strong, be bold; for you will cause this people to inherit the land I swore to their fathers I would give them. Only be strong and very bold in taking care to follow all the Torah which Moshe my servant ordered you to follow; do not turn from it either to the right or to the left; then you will succeed wherever you go. Yes, keep this book of the Torah on your lips, and meditate on it day and night, so that you will take care to act according to everything written in it. Then your undertakings will prosper, and you will succeed. Haven’t I ordered you, ‘Be strong, be bold’? So don’t be afraid or downhearted, because Adonai your God is with you wherever you go.”

Just as it was for Joshua, our strength and boldness are found in God’s word. He tells us to trust Him, to find our strength to do all things in Him, and to lift Him up that He may draw all men to Him. Paul was bold and strong in his proclamation of The Gospel, but even he knew that he needed God to help him stay that way. He asks the Ephesians to pray for him (in Ephesians 6:19) “that whenever I open my mouth, the words will be given to me to be bold in making known the secret of the Good News.” Let us pray for ourselves and for each other that we will always trust God to make us bold, to make us strong, and to help us “espresso our faith.”

PS: Just when I thought I was being so creative in coming up with a cool title for this post, I found a book on Amazon by the same title. It actually looks like a great book, especially for coffee lovers, so I’ve added it to my wish list. If you want to look at it for yourself, it’s at http://www.amazon.com/Espresso-Your-Faith-Rhonda-Rhea-ebook/dp/B00AYJESIM

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September 15, 2014 - Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Joshua is such an inspiration. Boldness is something I strive for, but have to work hard to achieve. Thank God for the internet, right? It’s easy to be “bold” in a blog post. I can share things with my Facebook/Twitter feed that I might fear saying to them in person. But to be bold in day-to-day life with colleagues and friends has to be a deliberate choice. It’s so easy to pull back and avoid the possibility of conflict or confrontation.

    The sad part of that is how great our fear can be over taking the smallest Biblical stand. For me, it’s usually a matter of asking people not to curse or tell off-colored jokes in front of me, or to politely decline alcohol when they offer. It definitely gets easier as I age, but even now, I have to sometimes force myself to add Christ to the conversation rather than merely saying, “No thanks.” We have to view these encounters as opportunities, open doors to share our faith.

    I love this line: hot water can only make him stronger. So true!

    Like

    Comment by monicamynk | September 27, 2014 | Reply

    • I am one who also avoids confrontation. Someone told me once to try renaming it care-frontation & see if it helped. It did, a little. My issue (that may also be yours) is that I have a strong empathic personality. I can feel the other person’s hurt or anger in a situation, so if I caused it (even for a good reason), I have to battle through what I feel plus guilt. It’s definitely not because I want to fit in. I’d much rather be acceptable to Christ than to any human. I just don’t like the negative feelings often created by confrontation.

      Like

      Comment by Crystal A Murray | September 27, 2014 | Reply


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