So Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel. And he said to them, “I am [h]a hundred and twenty years old today; I am no longer able to come in and go out [as your spiritual and military leader], and the Lord has said to me, ‘You shall not cross this Jordan.’ It is the Lord your God who will cross ahead of you; He will destroy these nations before you, and you shall dispossess them. Joshua is the one who will go across before you [to lead you], just as the Lord has said. – Deuteronomy 31:1-3
The courage of Joshua speaks of something far more deep and extensive; as the apostle in explaining Joshua and Canaan as the true rest to be found in Christ, adds, “Therefore let us [with privilege] approach the throne of grace [that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor] with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find [His amazing] grace to help in time of need [an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment].” It is not, then, of boldness in battle that God would teach us by Joshua, but it is altogether a figure of something else, of a brave courage in Christ; for “our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents],” but against spiritual powers; our weapons are not carnal, but mighty through God. Such is our Joshua, who hath taken upon Him not the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham. But as for all warfare the requisite is courage, so Joshua represents in particular that courage of heart which is a great ingredient in the “this is the victory that has conquered and overcome the world—our [continuing, persistent] faith [in Jesus the Son of God],” and in that “perfect (complete, full-grown) love” which drives out fear. Joshua speaks not of human virtue and affection, but of power; not of man’s disposition, but of victory in God. And what is this but of God in Jesus Christ? The one lesson, therefore, is that in all, and beyond all, His saints, we are to look to Jesus, remembering that He is God as well as man; that it is altogether different to that of looking to the example of any man, on account of His Godhead, His atonement, the gift of His Spirit; we look to Him and have power, we have power by looking; nay, by looking, as the apostle says, we “are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit.”
The theology of work does not begin with our understanding of what God wants us to do or even how to do it. It begins with the God who has revealed Himself to us as Creator and Redeemer, and who shows us how to follow Him by being formed in His character. We do what God wants us to do by becoming more like God. As His people, Christians cannot settle for doing our work according to godly principles unless we apprehend these truths as uniquely rooted in this certain God, who does this particular kind of redemptive work, through the unique person of His Son, by the power of His Holy Spirit. In essence, we learn that God’s character is revealed in His work, and His work shapes our work.