I don’t know about you, but I’ve always thought of Joshua as being a strong and courageous leader. Didn’t he, after all, lead the people in the conquering of Canaan?
When I read the account of Joshua taking over for Moses, however, I begin to wonder: was Joshua really all that strong and courageous by nature? If he was, then why did God tell him–not once, not twice, but three times in a single paragraph–to be strong and courageous? Let’s look:
“Be strong and of 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…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.” (Joshua 1:6-8)
When I think back over what the Bible records about Joshua prior to this, I find sketchy verses, but the overall picture painted prior to Joshua taking over for Moses is that he was a follower (Ex 24:13), that though he stood up for what is right, he did so as a support for Caleb, who boldly stood up before him (Num 14). He was a devote follower of God who loved to be in God’s presence (Ex. 33:11). In summary, in the picture that we have of Joshua prior to taking over for Moses, we don’t necessarily find that he is “strong” or “courageous.”
After this three-fold command to be bold and courageous, however, we see that Joshua became just that: strong and courageous. God didn’t tell him exactly how to enter the land, but we see Joshua rising up in boldness and couage and stepping foot into the Jordon; and then we see the waters of the river parting in front of him (Joshua 1)
I don’t know about you, but I am not strong and courageous by nature either, and this passage speaks directly to me. I know I’m not about to lead the Children of Israel into the promised land, but when I am brought face to face with troubles of any kind, I can tell you that “boldness” and “courage” are certainly not the words that can be used to describe me or my reactions. I tend to feel like I am being bounced around like a puppet on a string with no control over anything. Meanwhile, my “puppeteer” is whatever circumstance I find myself in.
Yet God says, “be strong and courageous.”
How can you be “strong and courageous” in the face of cancer? Divorce? Persecution? Loss of our homes? Addictions?
The list could go on to include job loss, teen troubles, wrecked car, etc, but whatever it is we’re facing, God still says, be “strong and courageous!”
Perhaps we can learn some lessons from Joshua on just how to be “strong and courageous:” Like Joshua, we need to be followers. We need to be completely devoted to following God. We need to never leave His presence. When we do, then we find ourselves equipped, like Joshua, to rise up and conquer.
Whatever you are facing today, friends, I encourage all of you today to do just this: To abide in the presence of God, to follow Him 100%, and then to step forth in boldness and courage and conquer! Let’s not forget that Paul, after listing a long list of troubles (See Rom 8:35,36), reminds us: “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Rom 8:37)
Remember, it doesn’t matter what kind of trouble you are facing now: You are not a puppet on a string. You are a conqueror through Christ Jesus. So rise up, be bold and courageous, and move ahead, ever knowing that God has already promised: “very place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses….No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.” (Jos 1:3-5)
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.