“Be strong and courageous!” That is sometimes a challenge, especially in the midst of a struggle or in the face of fear of the unknown. This phrase is used 11 times in God’s Word: 8 times God is saying to 3 different people: Moses, Joshua and Hezekiah; and 3 times Moses is repeating it to Joshua and Caleb. Each time it is used just before battle. I believe that God is still saying it to us to prepare us for battle against this world, against Satan.
There are several scriptures that I have memorized and this is one of them. Why? Because it works! It’s not through the power of positive thinking that inspires me, even though thinking positively does help, but the power of this scripture to me is because of the one speaking it. It appears 4 times in the span of the first chapter in the book of Joshua. In verses 6, 7, 9 and 18 God speaks directly to Joshua as he succeeds Moses as leader over Israel after the death of Moses. Remember that Joshua and Caleb were the only adults who survived God’s punishment of the Israelites during their wandering in the desert because they remained faithful to God and believed that God would deliver them victory over the enemies in the promised land. They were the last of a generation who lived under slavery in Egypt and witnessed all of the miraculous ways God had led them and provided for them. They also witnessed God’s wrath on them over Israel’s unfaithfulness. Joshua’s faith saved him and God rewarded him and called him to lead the people into the promised land.
In this first chapter, Joshua is showing some reticence to the position, so God gives him an amazing pep talk in this first chapter of Joshua that is contingent upon these words….” Be strong and courageous!” God tells Joshua…”Be strong and courageous for I will lead you; Be strong and very courageous in following Moses’ instructions; Be strong and courageous and do not be afraid for I am with you; Be strong and courageous and I will give you victory!” Then, when Joshua takes his lead, what happens? Everything that God had promised – the people followed him and God gave them victories over every enemy. Some of the victories were easily won and others were hard fought, but in every one God gave them victory and was always with them, just as He promised.
So, can we find application for these words of God? They were not only spoken to Joshua, Moses and Heziaciah, but to each of us as well. Each day in whatever we face – the good, the bad and the ugly – we can stand firm in courage in our faith in a faithful God.
Be strong and courageous God says unto you!