“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 1:9
The people of Israel had wandered the desert for 40 years and Moses, the great leader who led them out of Egypt, had just died. Now was the time for them to enter the promised land. They were not going to just walk into an uninhabited land flowing with milk and honey; it was a land that was last reported to be filled with giants. Acquiring the land would require both battles and clear moves of G
od and Joshua was the one to lead them.
Between verse six and nine of chapter one God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous three times. My guess is he is not feeling strong or courageous or this pep talk would not be needed. In fact, God begins verse nine by rhetorically asking “Have I not commanded you?”
It is assumed from the word “command” that God is the true commander and Joshua is His second in command. God is leading his people into the promised land and Joshua is following the Lord. Joshua has an idea of what he is about to face and knows what has been prophesied, but he must have still felt discouraged in light of the huge task before him.
Be strong and courageous when you know there will be battle in the acquisition and it will require the hand of God to make it work. That feels heavy. It feels discouraging when God is leading you to a place that is going to require work and miracles to acquire the promise. Isn’t that what following Jesus is like?
You get inspired to do foster care or adopt and then go to training and realize this calling is going to require change. You get a phone call and agree to care for a grandchild and realize you don’t know how long this will last or how you will financially afford daycare and formula and you have to be at work on Monday. The school district announces there will be remote learning as your job is ready for people to work in the office again. “Be strong and courageous. Have I not commanded you?”
When God calls us into a new land full of promise He is the commander and we get to follow. We may look like the leader to our kids and those around us but we are following. It is going to take God’s intervention to make this season work. As we move through this time between the beginning of the shut down and the promise of when everything opens up we know that “God will be with us wherever we go.” We may need to write it down and post it around our house, but we have to do whatever it takes to remember to be strong and courageous. We must be brave.
Originally posted on Sept. 9, 2020