The Lord came to Joshua and told him that his close friend, confidant, and mentor, Moses, was now dead. It would now be Joshua’s job to lead the people of God to take possession of the inheritance promised to his forefathers. The task alone was enough to intimidate the most faith-filled leader, but given Joshua’s personal loss of his spiritual leader, the task would seem impossible. Unlike the appearance of Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars movies to encourage, guide, and instruct Luke along his path to Jedi warrior, there would be no reappearing of Moses to help steady his hand.
Instead of Moses, God himself would be showing up to counsel, guide, and direct Joshua in all the affairs and responsibilities now being placed on his shoulders. The power of the Most High God would personally and directly be available to Joshua and the people of God to get the job done. The real force would truly be with him. The Lord came onto the scene during this transition and on the eve of Joshua’s ground invasion to strengthen and encourage his servant so that there would not be a repeat of the fear and destruction that accompanied the first attempt to spy out the land for occupation. The obstacles would still be there. The giants would be larger and more numerous than the last time. But this time, the force of faith would be stronger than the influence of fear and Joshua, with God’s blessing, was positioned and destined to lead the people of God to success and victory!
It’s interesting that the Lord repeated the phrase, “be strong and courageous,” four times in Joshua’s hearing to restore and undergird his courage before the beginning of this campaign. Each time the Lord spoke the phrase, He revealed a different reason why Joshua should be strong and courageous no matter what he comes up against on the other side of the Jordan. These principles are just as applicable to us today as they were thousands of years ago. Apply them to your heart today and may God’s force and power be with you – His ability to strengthen and encourage you no matter what your assignment or challenge in life:
First, we need to understand that God’s promise makes us strong and courageous. The Lord said, “Be strong and courageous, for you will lead my people to possess all the land I swore to give their ancestors” (Joshua 1:6, NLT). A promise is a declaration that something will be done; an express assurance on which we can base our expectation. It’s one thing for a man to make a promise – it’s an entirely different thing for God himself to declare an oath and promises to His people. The key to remaining strong and courageous during a challenging season in life is to focus exclusively on that promise instead of the circumstances or difficulty awaiting us.
Second, we need to know that God’s precepts make us strong and courageous. Joshua was told, “Be strong and courageous. Obey all the laws Moses gave you. Do not turn away from them, and you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of the Law continually. Meditate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it. Only then will you succeed” (Joshua 1:7-8, NLT). Our victory is tied to what we do with the Word of God and not the difficulty of the situation. We need to be Word people more than ever reading, studying, thinking about, speaking, and consistently doing the Word. Too often we have been led to believe that our success is outside of our control and influence, but the Lord makes it plain that if we stay on the Word we will make our own way prosperous and successful. In the midst of your challenging situation, make up your mind to not say anything but the Word of God. Like Joshua, don’t let the Book of the Law depart from your mouth – don’t ever, ever stop speaking and doing the Word.
Third, practicing the presence of God makes us strong and courageous. The Lord commanded Joshua, “be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9, NLT). The Lord was personally promising to abide and dwell with Joshua and the people of God. He would never leave them or forsake them. But think about the New Testament believer. We just don’t have the Lord among us, we have Him living inside of us through the new birth. God’s manifest presence always emboldens and always gives courage. We need to increase our “God inside of us” consciousness and remind ourselves in the midst of the battle that He is right there with us all the way leading, guiding, and yes, fighting on our behalf. Do not put anything above God’s presence in your life and never trust anyone or anything more than Him.
Finally, we all need to be reminded that God’s people are there to make us strong and courageous. True, some people in the body of Christ are specialists in stealing our courage, but there are believers all around us like the men in Joshua’s day that are telling us, “may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses…So be strong and courageous!” (Joshua 1:16-18, NLT). The bold, dedicated support and commitment of God’s people gives us great encouragement. This is why the Scripture tells us not to stop gathering together for worship and fellowship (Hebrews 10:25). Whenever we come together there are people that need encouragement and people who are in a place spiritually where they can provide it. Down the road the roles may be reversed. The bottom line is that we need one another to accomplish the huge task of getting in the end time harvest. We should not even attempt to go it alone without the love, support, and encouragement of each other.
So, be strong and courageous today because the Lord has given you His promises, precepts, presence, and people to spur you on to victory in everything He has assigned you to accomplish. Get in the habit today of rehearsing the promises, spending time in the Word, practicing God’s presence, and living in life-giving community with the people of God. As you do, you will go out and do great exploits in your time and season just as Joshua went out and accomplished great things in his day. The force and power of the Most High God is truly with you!