In the Bible, Joshua had a weighty task to take on. Have you ever had to take over someone’s role? Or transitioned into a job that had been held by someone else for many years? Have you been the replacement for someone who was dearly loved by the people around you? That was the situation Joshua was plopped into.
Moses had been leading the nation of Israel and had been God’s mouthpiece to the nation, and Joshua was appointed as his successor. Talk about some big shoes to fill!
“And the Lord commissioned Joshua the son of Nun and said, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the people of Israel into the land that I swore to give them. I will be with you.” Deuteronomy 31:23 (ESV)
Guess what Joshua’s life theme became? “Be strong and courageous”. He repeated this phrase over and over again to the people, reminding them of who they were and who the God they served was. He was an encouraging and inspiring leader who did his best to lead an unruly and frightened people into their calling.
If anyone had a right to shy away from their calling it was Joshua. He was Moses’ assistant and saw the toll the people took on the great man of God. He witnessed Moses after his encounters with the Lord and saw how distraught he was when the people rebelled again. Joshua was faithful to Moses and to God when he was in the midst of a unruly and unfaithful people. I whole-heartedly believe that Joshua learned obedience by watching the obedience of Moses.
Joshua didn’t just take God’s word to be strong and courageous as a motivational poster but a command. He chose to be strong and courageous in the face of overwhelming opposition. He took God at his word and responded accordingly. He took courage and led the people to victory after victory, actively participating as God moved mightily on their behalf.
I believe that phrase “be strong and courageous” is as much a command for us today as it was for Joshua and the Israelites. This Christian, Jesus-following life isn’t for the faint of heart. Trust is hard. Obedience requires courage. And humility requires strength. Thank God that he is with us, step by step, as we make our way through life.
How can you be strong in the Lord today? How can you be courageous in the face of overwhelming opposition?
To go Deeper: Read Courage, My Heart
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