Reflection: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Joshua was chosen and designated to lead God’s people into their promised land. God told him in Deuteronomy 11:24: “Every place where the sole of your foot treads will be yours. Your territory will extend from the wilderness to Lebanon, and from the Euphrates River to the Western Sea.” And in Joshua 1:5, He tells Joshua, “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail or forsake you.”
Joshua was immediately forced to confront and face his fears and doubts. Despite the tumultuous task ahead of just entering the land and conquering it, God’s word to Joshua was: “Be strong and courageous,” which meant he needed to prevail, persist in, and be stronger than his obstacles.
For Joshua to be effective as a leader, it would require strength, courage, and obedience to confront each battle he met. The task he faced was not peaceful but a bitter, violent struggle that would go on for years to come. Despite this, God promised that Joshua would experience victory if he continued to be strong and courageous.
Strength: In this text, to be strong is not just muscular or physical strength. Instead, it is within the context of the covenant relationship that God demands strength. For Joshua and the people of God to achieve victory, they needed to be strong, i.e., determined, not easily swayed by what they saw, or circumstances. And they required consistency to prevail over their enemies.
Courage: Along with strength, God also required courage to withstand fear and difficulty to focus on the purpose and obtain their end goal. Courage fostered confidence and reliance on the presence and power of God and not in their ability.
Obedience: God’s word to Joshua included a warning in verse 7: “Be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.” Obedience to God’s will and word is one of the critical principles of Scripture, as well as a key requirement for being successful. The only way Joshua could be successful was to not just listen to God’s voice but follow what He said—for Himself and His people. Obedience involves trust, submission, and giving up one’s way to follow God’s way—which ultimately is always better anyway. Our success and victory are tied to our obedience.
Faith: Lastly, we need faith, not just to believe, but to be devoted and loyal to God and His way. We can be strong, courageous, and obedient for a time, but if we do not have faith in God or the successful outcome of our tests, it can be easy to walk away when we get tired or discouraged. Faith and being faithful means that one can endure or remain in one place despite times of adversity. Because you believe, then you will not abandon what you have set out to do until success, victory, and fulfillment are achieved.
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God is calling for strong, courageous, obedient, faith-filled believers who walk in accountability to God. Effective believers must be sensitive to God’s voice, His promptings, and listen to His voice. God wants to speak to you—He desires to give you instruction and direction to excel with victory and success through difficulty. Do you hear Him speaking to you? Are you feeling weary, discouraged, or doubtful about what you face? You are not alone. “Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified nor dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)