I recently finished reading through the book of Joshua, and one of the things that caught my attention was how many times Joshua was told to, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." (Josh 1:9)
Joshua had seen it all - the plagues and departure from Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, the Lord leading them as cloud and fire, receiving manna for 40 years, water pouring out from rocks, and the conquest of kings far more powerful than the Israelites. He had heard the voice of the Lord speak from the mountain to the people, and seen Moses' face after being in the presence of God.
Now Moses has died, and God is appointing Joshua as the new leader. God is promising him that he will give Joshua every place he walks on, and that no one will be able to stand before him. (1:3)
Was Joshua scared? Was he standing there afraid and unsure? Why did God tell him THREE times in one conversation to be strong and courageous?
I don't know how he felt, but I do know how he acted.
Joshua obeyed God.
He did all that God commanded him to do—in the face of giants in the land that needed to be conquered, in the face of many battles that needed to be fought, in the face of situations that seemed impossible from a human perspective.
We humans are so prone to fear, and we're so quick to forget God's promises! Perhaps that is why God said those words over and over, to press them deep into Joshua's heart and mind: I am with you. Do not be afraid. Have courage.
Every now and then this year I have noticed fear starting to creep in around the edges of my heart and mind. Fear of the unknown. Fear of the now. Fear of the future. Fear of what God is asking me to do….
And I've been reminded through Joshua, that this kind of fear is not from God. It is a sure indicator that I am not fully trusting Him, but that I am looking at my self or my circumstances rather than at Him.
God has shown himself faithful, and his faithfulness will not fail! Because of who HE is, I can move with confidence when he whispers to my fearful heart, "Lisa, be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, for I am with you!"
As God was with Joshua, so He is with me. So he is with YOU! Let God’s words to Joshua speak directly to your own heart as well, and prepare to be amazed as He does the impossible through His children who walk in obedience to Him!
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9
To God be the glory, great things he has done!