“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. (Joshua 1:9)”
In the first nine verses of this chapter, God commanded Joshua to be courageous 3 times. He didn’t recommend courage; there was no other options to choose from; there was only one, and that was to be strong and courageous. This is not the first time he was given this command (Deuteronomy 31:6-7, 23), nor would it be the last time he hears it (vs 18; 10:25). Joshua had a formidable task ahead of him, and he needed all the strength he could get. For the last 40 years, Joshua saw Moses as the leader of the Israelites. After all, Moses delivered them out of bondage from Egypt, interceded between them and God, led them through the desert and brought them within eye sight of the Promise Land. Now, Joshua stands on the shores of the Jordan with the weight of leading the Israelites upon his shoulders. However, if he was to be successful he needed to remember one thing, Moses was dead and he was to look to his leadership no more. Now, like Moses, Joshua would have to look to God alone for his strength and guidance. For, everything that Moses accomplished, he accomplished through God. It was God who freed the Israelites form their bondage in Egypt; it was God who led them through the desert; it was God who gave them guidance and laws to follow; and it was God’s promise that brought them to the Promise Land. Moses was nothing more than God’s instrument, and God wanted Joshua to know that He would be with him just as he was with Moses.
We have a bad habit of looking to other people for our strength and guidance. When in doubt, or when faced with formidable odds, we tend to reach out to others for strength and courage. These people become our Moses, and without them we sometimes feel lost or even frightened. There’s nothing wrong with asking people for help, but God has the same message for us that he had for Joshua, “be strong and courageous for I am with you always.” Moses is dead, and God stands alone as our strong-tower; and though God might use other people to assist us along the way, it is Him alone that delivers us. I love this Psalm, “It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. (Psalms 18:32-34)” Hard times will always be right around the corner, but when they arrive, from whom will you derive your courage?
Your daily prayer:
Father, you are my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? You are the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid (Psalm 27:1). In the days when I cry out, you answer me, you make me bold with strength in my soul (Psalm 138:3). With man, all things are impossible, but with you all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). Therefore, I will not lose heart. Even though my outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day (2nd Corinthians 4:16). So, I will say I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). For you have not given me a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2nd Timothy 1:7). Truly, you have been my refuge, a strong tower against my enemies (Psalm 61:3).