No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. 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 – Joshua 1:5-7.

Most of us are pretty familiar with Joshua chapter one. We often pull verse six and camp on being “strong and courageous” – being strong is, as the term would suggest, being or growing strong. Do not be timid but live with confidence. Courageous is very similar with the idea of being strong but it also has the idea of being alert. Both are imperatives, in any other terms, God commanded Israel to be strong and courageous as they were going to “possess God’s promises” and step into God’s blessings. There are some obvious elements here that are worth noting. One might interpret this to mean that they are going to have to be strong and courageous when they have to evict those nations inhabiting the land. Israel is going to have to go in and drive them out and conquer them to possess this land. While God has already “given them the land” they will have to “go get it” so to speak. However, the emphasis of being strong and courageous does not focus on the nations they are to drive out of the Land, the focus is on obedience to the Law God gave to Moses.

God had already announced, before He told the people to be strong and courageous, that no man will be able to stand before Israel, all the days of their life. The reason is stated immediately after that statement: God promised that He would be with them. The reason why no man will be able to stand against them was not because of who Israel was but because God would be with them. After that declaration, God then commands Israel to be strong and courageous, not because they are facing the nations, but they needed to be faithful and obedient to God’s Law.

Being strong and courageous is not always about becoming resilient as we face certain circumstances in our life. As God was with Israel, Christ promised to be with His disciples as He recommissioned them to make disciples. The greater measure of being strong and courageous is being obedient to God regardless of our circumstances. The key to being strong and courageous is being convinced that God will keep His promise to be with us. There are certain things God will look after because He will not fail or forsake us, and there are things we need to do because He is with us.

God was not as concerned about how Israel handled the nations; He would look after them because He promised to be with them. Being strong and courageous had more to do with their relationship with God than their responsibility to deal with the nations. The one, critical condition of possessing the Land was being faithful and obedient to God. Failure to do this would undermine their ability to possess the Land because God was not going to allow Israel to forsake and abandon Him and allow them to enjoy His blessings too.

We often spend huge amounts of time and energy trying to figure out how to deal with our circumstances. We fret over our work or lack thereof. We worry about relationships and how much we can trust people. We are anxious if our life circumstances will change, and we are nervous that things will change. If we put as much effort into being strong in God’s Word and courageous (alert) to understand the wisdom of the Scriptures as to how we ought to live with God, then we too will enjoy the riches of His grace that He has already lavished upon us.

– In Christ, Pastor Brad –