Matters of Faith: Act Accordingly!

Rev. J. Loren Russell

“Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:7 (ESV)

On a recent airplane flight, I heard the familiar announcement, “In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you. To start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you. Place it firmly over your nose and mouth, secure the elastic band behind your head, and breathe normally. Although the bag does not inflate, oxygen is flowing to the mask. If you are traveling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person. Keep your mask on until a uniformed crew member advises you to remove it.” Without exception, this announcement is made on every flight regardless to who the carrier might be or how many times you may have flown or heard it. It is repeated as a reminder that there may be unexpected and serious problems during the flight, but that provisions have already been made for your safety and well-being, if you act accordingly.

In life, it is without exception that you will encounter problems, some minor and others could be life threatening. But we, like those who fly on airplanes, have an assurance that provisions have already been made for our well-being. We have reminders that provisions have already been taken that will help us to make it through the most trying and difficult of circumstances, if we act accordingly.

In the text, Joshua was being installed as the head of the nation of Israel after the death of Moses. Now, for the very first time, the Lord speaks directly to Joshua. He spoke words of encouragement and told him that he would successfully bring this nation of people into The Promised Land. He also told him what he needed to do to achieve that success. The Lord didn’t tell him anything that he didn’t already know. He just refreshed his memory and reassured him that he would be successful if he acted accordingly; that is, if he followed the instructions given to him first by Moses, now by God Himself. Unlike Moses who died before getting into The Promised Land, the Lord tells Joshua that his success is guaranteed if he was careful to meditate and observe all that was he had been and is being instructed to do; if he acted accordingly.

A friend told me that he was on a flight and the cabin did lose its pressure, the masks did drop down. While in the turbulence, all the passengers followed the instructions that had been given. They all acted accordingly. But the flight attendant forgot to first put her mask on and was overcome by the lack of oxygen. Just because we know what we are supposed to do, even if we are the one giving the instruction, does not mean that we will do it. We can be like the flight attendant or we can be like Joshua. We have our instructions and we know what’s expected of us. But, it’s up to us to act accordingly.

The Lord encouraged Joshua with these words; “be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (v. 9). Joshua’s actions showed that he did as he was instructed. Now, let’s live our lives “being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.” I pray our actions will show that we to, are acting accordingly.

Rev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial & Strategic Consulting, host of “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio, Monday’s 8:00 – 10:00 PM (Call-in: 626-226-1448), and author of Matters of Faith: The Book.

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