The book of Joshua in the Bible starts like this,
“After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua the son of nun, Moses assistant, ‘Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel.”
Moses, the inspirational leader, the man who led the people out of captivity is dead, the river Jordan lies before them and the Israelite people are not the most exhilarating company- their preferred method of communication is to moan and grumble.
This is where Joshua finds himself, tasked with leading God’s people into the promised land after forty years of wandering through the wilderness. Challenging stuff, challenging circumstance.
In the first nine verses of Joshua God says this phrase to him three times…YES THREE TIMES…
“Be strong and courageous.”
It’s not because he is hard of hearing it’s because God knows we need reminding to be strong and courageous in light of the challenges of life. We all have ups and downs, mountain top experiences and valley lows- in all these things God wants us to in faith trust him, to be strong, to be courageous.
So then how can we be strong & have courage to face whatever this world throws at us…
God keeps his word, he keeps his promises. This is foundational to having strength and courage. God made promises to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob that his people would be given a land. Now on the brink of the fulfillment of this promise he reminds Joshua, every place the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you… I keep my word…
We need to know the promises of God for us, the bible is full of them
Come to me all you who are weary, I will give you rest (Matt 11). Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength (Isaiah 40). If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us (1 John 1). If I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me (Psalm 23).
That’s only four of the hundreds of promises that God has made and therefore keeps…
Joshua 1:5 says this,
“Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you…”
God’s presence is key to our strength and courage, not merely knowing in our head that God keep his promise, but knowing in our heart that He is in control and with us.
“You have received the Spirit of adoption of sons, by whom we cry Abba Father! The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God…” (Romans 8)
God the Holy Spirit testifies to our spirit our soul that we are children of God. If you are assured that God loves you, He goes with you, goes before you, when fear strikes- God has not abandoned you. More ofthen that not we supress God’s spirit, we grieve Him we turn the other way, but if we turn around and live to please God then you will have strength and courage.
3. The Book
The most popular book in the whole world tells us all about who God is and what he has done- the Bible provides the platform and confidence for us to have strength and courage.
Joshua 1:7 “Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law. That Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.”
A life that pleases God does not arise from feelings or mystical stuff, it comes from God’s word and obedience to it. Trusting in the relevation of Gods word and living by it pleases God, life in the kingdom of God must be lived out of a love for the word of God- it’s a massive foundation to us having strength and courage. We can’t base our faith on the ever shifting sands of our feelings but on the reliable, trustworthy words of God. The world changes but God doesnt, circumstances come and go, God remains.
So which way you going to go? The world we live in can be hard, it can be difficult to live out our faith, challenges come from every side, but we are called to be strong and courageous… go God’s way… rely on his promises, his presence and his book…
To see a fuller explanation of Joshua 1 check out the message I brought at RK as a part of our Joshua- Taking Ground series.