BE STRONG; HAVE COURAGE
After 40 years of wandering, the young nation of Israel camped on the east side of the Jordan River. Following the death of Moses, Joshua was now in command and his first task was to lead the fledgling nation into the land God had promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob four centuries earlier.
Before crossing the swollen and surging Jordan, the Lord spoke to Joshua:
JOSHUA 1:6-9 (emphasis added)
“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; 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.”
Promising to never to leave or forsake Joshua, the Lord assured success in leading His Chosen People into the Promised Land.
In His challenge, the Lord repeated His command to Joshua to, “Be strong and of good courage,” not just once or twice, but three times!
In His admonition, God acknowledged that the challenges before Joshua were great requiring both strength and courage. Joshua couldn’t afford the luxury of allowing himself to be intimidated by fortified cities, well-equipped armies or even giants living in the land. It was imperative for Joshua to tenaciously and resolutely meet the challenges inherent in fulfilling God’s command to claim the land promised to Israel.
When God commanded Joshua to, “be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you,” the assurance of success was affirmed: “that you may prosper wherever you go” (v. 7).
Joshua’s success was not linked to his personal strength or courage on the battlefield, but rather to his spiritual character that embodied a resolute determination to obey the Word of God.
Joshua was commanded to meditate on, boldly communicate and allow God’s word to govern his every action on a practical level (v. 8). God had already promised victory; what He wanted from Joshua was godly character developed through obedience to His Word.
Although the circumstances change with successive generations, there will always be challenges in the real world. But, the formula for victory in facing the challenges of daily life is the same for people of faith living in the 21st century as it was for Joshua.
People of faith make God’s Word part of their thought process 24/7, integrate it into their very being and share it with those around them.
You can be strong and have courage when you allow the Word of God to mold your character. Challenges will be part of your daily reality, but you will be able to meet each with confidence and assured success by trusting God implicitly and living in obedience to His Word.
1) Bible opened to Isaiah. By, Ken Horn, [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
2) 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, (As in Joshua 1:8). (By Steelman [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
© Charles E. McCracken 2016, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.