‘Be strong and courageous,’ these were the words God spoke to Joshua as he was commissioned to lead the children of Israel into the promised land. God had been with them all the way from Egypt during the past forty years. Their journey could have been much shorter but for their grumbling and disobedience, but God stayed with them. He’d promised to take them into ‘a land flowing with milk and honey,’ (Deuteronomy 11:9) and that promise would be fulfilled.
The Book of the Law (Word of God) was Joshua’s protection and guide. As long as he remained rooted in God’s word, he was safe. This was his sword and his shield. And God would lead him into success and prosperity in all that he did.
The Word of God is constant. As long as conditions are met, it’s as relevant to us today as it was to Joshua. The Lord said to Joshua, ‘I will be with you wherever you go’ (Joshua 1:9). Jesus said, ‘I am with you always’ (Matthew 28:20). God’s promises will never fail.
Four times in the opening verses of the Book of Joshua God said, ‘Be strong and courageous,’ or ‘be strong and very courageous.’ Why then did Joshua need strength and courage if he lived according to the scriptures and knew the covering of God?
The opposite of courage is fear. If we walk hesitantly or fearfully, our trust and confidence wavers. If we’re unsure of where we’re going and are continually questioning ourselves, or even God, we’re not fully trusting in Him. ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’ (Hebrews 13:5). Do we believe this or not? Either we do, or we don’t. There’s no middle way. If we live by the truth of the word of God and believe our security lies with Him, what room is there for fear? And when all fear fades, courage emerges to take its place.
Surely our confidence is in Him. And, with His help, we can walk through fear into safety. This takes strength – strength of mind, and strength of will. Nehemiah said to the Israelites, ‘The joy of the Lord is your strength’ (Nehemiah 8:10). It’s not a strength we must generate in ourselves, but a strength that comes from knowing that God’s with us. This is the strength in which we stand, as we become ‘strong in the Lord in the power of His might’ (Ephesians 6:10). This is the strength that God called Joshua to stand upon. ‘Having done all, to stand firm’ (Ephesians 6:13).
To be strong and courageous, is not ‘doing,’ it’s ‘being.’ It’s being what we were intended to be from the beginning, moulded into a close relationship with the Father, allowing Him to care for us and protect us in all that we do.
So, let’s stand firm in Him, no wavering and no doubting, with the joy of the Lord in our heart. Then we’ll discover, perhaps to our surprise, that we’ve become strong and even very courageous.
Prayer: Father, I know what I am, and it’s sometimes not pleasing to You. I know I can be different, but not in my own strength. Draw me closer to You, Lord, that I may know who I really am in You, loved, cherished and precious in Your sight, and that I may have strength and confidence to live and walk according to Your Word, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
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