Be Strong and Courageous
God, give me strength and courage to live in a way that glorifies you. There will be obstacles along the way, but help me recognize that you are with me.
Read: Joshua 1:9 (NIV)
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
By the time we reach verse 9, God has already told Joshua to be strong and courageous twice, in verse 6 and yet again in verse 7. While it’s not clear exactly why God repeats this command three times, I think there are some noticeable differences between them. In each of the examples, the reason for being strong and courageous appear to change. In verse 6, the reason for strength and courage are found in God’s promise, inheriting the land across the Jordan River. In verse 7, the reason for strength and courage are that God has provided a path to success in obeying the law. A promise of success and a path for success are a good foundation for being strong and courageous. Let’s imagine for a moment you are facing a rock-climbing wall and are quite nervous about the journey. The instructor on site promises that you will make it up the wall with no problem and not only does he say that you will make it, he tells you exactly what path to take up the wall. At this point you would be feeling more confident about the task ahead. Now what would it do to your confidence if you found out this same instructor would climb up the wall with you and lead you along the way. My guess is that your confidence would jump significantly. This imaginary scenario underlines the power of verse 9. For the third and final time Joshua is told to be strong and courageous, the reason is that the Lord would be with him wherever he goes. The same God that promised the Israelites the land across the Jordan and a path for success was the very same God who would accompany them on their journey.
In our hypothetical example above two things are key to our being strong and courageous. One of these keys will be the expertise of the instructor. If you found out the instructor wasn’t really an instructor at all but some guy off the street, his promise of success and his recommendation for getting up the wall would mean very little. Similarly, if we don’t view God as an expert on life or trustworthy, then it would be hard to take his commands and promises seriously. A.W. Tozer once said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” If you find God’s command “to be strong and courageous” difficult, then the best place to start is spending time reading and studying about who God is. When you begin to comprehend God’s goodness and sovereignty then you can begin to trust him and his word. The second key to being strong and courageous is recognizing that God is with us. When we comprehend that God is aware of and active at every point in the universe, we begin to walk through life with greater confidence. There is literally nowhere you can go that God isn’t right there with you, so spend time during the day reflecting on this and thank him for being there. Take time to recognize his presence. We can walk through life with strength and courage because the author of strength and courage walks with us.
God, help me to recognize that you are a trustworthy guide. I can trust and rely on you daily and, for this reason, can be full of strength and courage.