“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 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 1:6-9
In the beginning of the book of Joshua, the Israelites are getting ready to go into the promised land and to fight the inhabitants to make it their own. Moses, their leader for many years, has died and Joshua is the new leader. The above passage is an excerpt of the Lord’s instruction to Joshua.
When I read this passage, what struck me was God’s command: “Be strong and courageous”. He says it three different times in these 4 verses! He also adds a variant on this phrase in verse 9: “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” There are tough times ahead Joshua, so you will need to be strong and courageous!
I love what He says at the very end of verse 9: “For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”. Isn’t that wonderful?! That is the reason Joshua could be strong and courageous, God promised him that He would be with him.
The rest of the book of Joshua for the most part tells of the enemies they encountered, battles that were fought, and boundary lines that were drawn. At the end of the book of Joshua, he is old, dying and sharing his parting words to the nation of Israel.
15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
Did you catch that last sentence? “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” So good. God had a plan for Joshua, Joshua faithfully followed the plan. God was faithful to Joshua. And at the very end of his life, Joshua continues to be faithful to God and encourages others to do the same.
The Lord sometimes calls us to do difficult tasks. Challenges that will require us to be strong and very courageous. May it be said that we will chose to trust Him, follow His word, do the right thing and the end proclaim that “we will serve the Lord”.