Written by Donna Mitchell for The Life.
“This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
The Book of Joshua opens by announcing that Moses is dead. The LORD speaks to Joshua and gives him an assignment — to lead the people into the promised land. Considering Moses was one of the greatest leaders ever, it was likely terrifying to take over from him.
Joshua needed encouragement and specific instruction not to be afraid and reassurance from the LORD that He would not fail or abandon him. The instruction to “be strong and courageous” is repeated as “be strong and very courageous” and then in verse 9 the LORD outlines that this is not a suggestion — it is a command. Strong words for a man who was obviously afraid and needed much reassurance.
We assume a courageous person has no fears, but the opposite is true. Even the dictionary explains that courage is the ability to do something that frightens you or strength in the face of pain or grief.
In this opening chapter, the LORD explains what will help Joshua to be strong and courageous. The LORD gives Joshua a promise that is for us as well – “I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail or abandon you.” Obey my instructions. Study God’s word. Again the LORD closes with, “do not be afraid or discouraged,” which can be our natural tendency when hard things come. The LORD gives the reason Joshua can trust, “For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
You can be courageous today for that same reason. The LORD is with you.
LORD, thank you that you have promised us that you will be with us and will not fail or abandon us. Thank you that we can follow you, taking the courage and strength that you give in the face of fear or pain or grief. Help us study your word and take it to heart. Remind us of your faithfulness. Thank you that you are trustworthy. Give us the courage to obey you in the face of any obstacle. Thank you that we too have a reason to trust you — the promise that you will be with us wherever we go. Amen.
Is the Lord asking you to take a step of faith that requires you asking and relying on his strength and courage? Would you be willing, like Joshua, to obey and take that step of faith? We would love to hear about and celebrate with you how the LORD reassures you and gives you the courage to obey!