Five times General Joshua, Moses’ handpicked successor, is told to “be strong and courageous.” Joshua is taking over as the new leader of the 12 tribes of Israel. He will be the one who will cross the Jordan River. He will be the one to conquer the land. One time Moses tells Joshua to “be strong and courageous” (Deut. 31:7) and four times the Lord God tells Joshua to “be strong and courageous” (Deut. 31:23, Joshua 1:6, 7, 9). Can I suggest that Joshua might have been nervous and perhaps fearful to undertake the task of leading this rebellious people and conquering nations superior in number and firepower? I think so. Moses knew he was fearful and so did God. In fact God tells Joshua in 1:7, “be strong and VERY courageous (emphasis mine).” As we read of Joshua’s leadership in the conquest of the promised land we see a man who IS strong and courageous.
How was Joshua, a Nervous Nellie if there ever was one, able to become so strong and courageous? Let’s look carefully at what the Bible says and see the two keys to being strong and courageous in the face of a fearful situation.
Key 1. God will be with you. Deuteronomy 31:7, 23 and Joshua 1:9 provide the first key: God will be with you. You are not alone in this situation. God is with you and if God is with you, you need not fear or be dismayed by the situation. He won’t fail you. The writer of Hebrews in 13:5 quotes this exact passage in Deuteronomy and applies it to financial contentment. God will be with you and will be your source of security, not money. The stock market may rise and fall, your investments may fail, you may lose your job but God will be with you. Trust Him and, don’t trust money. It cannot provide lasting security and will ultimately fail you but God never will.
Key 2. Obey God’s Word. In Joshua 1:7, God exhorts Joshua to keep all the laws He gave to Moses. Rather than a legalistic obedience, God commands Joshua to read the law, meditate on it continually, and then do it. If Joshua will do that, God promises him prosperity and success. The same is true for you and me. If we have God’s presence with us and if we have His Word in our hearts we need not fear or be dismayed. His Spirit will use His Word to speak truth to us so we can be strong and courageous in the face of any fearful situation.
Be strong and courageous. God is for you. Who can be against you?