"DARE TO STAND LIKE JOSHUA"
"Choose you this day whom ye will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Josh. 24:15)
INTRO.: A hymn which encourage us to have the same resolve to serve the Lord as did Joshua is "Dare to Stand Like Joshua" (#480 in Hymns for Worship Revised). The text was written by C. M. Robinson. I have not been able to find out any further information about this author. The tune was composed by Peter Philip Bilhorn (1861-1936). Bilhorn is best remembered today for the song "Sweet Peace, the Gift of God’s Love," and the tune for Francis H. Rowley’s "I Will Sing the Wondrous Story." I have been unable to locate a date or source of publication for "Dare to Stand Like Joshua." Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, it may be found, to my knowledge, only in Hymns for Worship, where it was arranged by co-editor Dane K. Shepard. The only other book in which I have seen the song is the 1987 Zion’s Praises edited by Aaron Z. Weaver and published by the Weaver Music Company of Pittsgrove, NJ, a book used among the Mennonites.
The song draws lessons from Joshua’s leadership of Israel and applies them to Christians today.
I. Stanza 1 says that we are bound for Canaan’s land
"We are bound for Canaan’s land, Tenting by the way;
Who shall lead us on the road? Choose your King today."
A. Canaan is often used poetically to refer to heaven, with the idea that just as Joshua led the people into Canaan, so Jesus will lead us to the heavenly rest: Heb. 4:8-9
B. That we are "tenting" by the way is consistent with the Biblical view of this life where body and soul are together as the body’s being a tent or tabernacle for the soul: 2 Cor. 5:1-4
C. However, we need someone to lead us on the road because it is not in man that walks to direct his steps: Jer. 10:23
II. Stanza 2 says that we have seen many trials
"Many trials we have seen Thus far on our way;
He hath led us safely through. Shall He lead today?"
A. The Israelites experienced many trials during their wilderness wanderings: 1 Cor. 10:1-11
B. The Bible also talks times when Christians fall into various trials: Jas. 1:2-3
C. However, just as the Lord led Israel through her trials, so He has promised to lead us today if we hear Christ’s voice and follow Him: Jn. 10:27
III. Stanza 3 says that we faced the dark Red Sea of doubt
"When the dark Red Sea of doubt Billowed in our way,
Then He parted every wave–So He will today."
A. Coming upon the Red Sea was a dark moment of doubt for the Israelites: Exo. 14:1-10
B. This may be thought of as symbolizing the doubts that often billow in our way as we face the various tribulations of life: Acts 14:21-22
C. However, we can be assured that the same power can guide and protect us which parted every wave for Israel: Exo. 14:21-31
IV. Stanza 4 says that we can trust the Lord to lead us
"Can we safely trust a guide Who knows not the way?
God hath traveled every foot–He shall lead today."’
A. There are blind guides who we cannot trust: Matt. 23:15-16
B. If we follow those who do not know the way, we shall fall into the ditch with them: Matt. 15:13-14
C. However, God, in the person of His Son Jesus Christ, has travelled every foot and left us an example to follow Him: 1 Pet. 2: 21-23
V. Stanza 5 says that we must cross the Jordan before us
"Just before us Jordan rolls, Just across the way.
We can safely trust the Lord; He shall lead today."
A. When the Israelites reached the end of their journey, they had to cross the Jordan River: Josh. 3:14-17
B. In like manner, it may be said poetically that when we reach the end of our journey of life, we shall have to cross the Jordan River of death: Heb. 9:27
C. However, just as God brought Israel across, He has promised to be with us and lead us on the final journey to His house: Ps. 23:4-6
CONCL.: The chorus exhorts us to have the courage and conviction that Joshua had in leading the children of Israel.
"Dare to stand like Joshua, Dare to say the word:
‘As for me and for my house, We will serve the Lord."
Joshua was told, "Be strong and of a good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in 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. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go" (Josh. 1:6-9). Joshua did exactly as the Lord commanded. It should be the purpose of all children of God that they might "Dare to Stand Like Joshua."