The book of Joshua is filled with one phrase spoken by God over and over: “Be strong and courageous.” Joshua had been Moses’ number one guy for most of his life. He had fought battles already, he had helped Moses in leading the people. He was one of the two spies that went into the land God promised the Israelites and came back trusting in God’s power rather than the earthly might they saw. Yet, God very regularly reminded him to be strong and courageous.
This is a man that was one of Isreal’s greatest leaders. He continually did what God told him to do, and it always worked out just like God said when he and the Israelites obeyed. God still commanded him to be strong and courageous. That encourages me. It encourages me to know that this man, someone who had followed God his entire life, who learned immensely by following in the footsteps of Moses, that won battle after battle and led the Israelites into the land God had promised them so many years earlier, still needed God to remind him on a rather regular basis to be strong and courageous. It encourages me to know that a highly respectable man in the Bible still needed reminding to not be afraid.
When I follow God, it can be scary sometimes. Even when I know it’s the better choice, when I know that things will ultimately work out if I follow what God wants me to do, it’s still terrifying to actually step out and follow through. Joshua helps to remind me that in those moments, God is looking at me and commanding me: “be strong and courageous.” It’s not a suggestion, it’s a command from God. Joshua 1:9 demonstrates that. God commands us all to be strong and courageous in all of the areas of our lives, because we’re not relying on our own power. We’re not just hoping that things will somehow work out. We know that God is in control. So even when I’m fearful and need reminding to be strong and courageous, I know it’s because I don’t need to worry about things. God’s got it.