Have you ever set out to do something but felt discouraged by not getting the results you wanted, or feared what was ahead? Maybe what lies ahead of you seems hopeless, and being strong and courageous .
The other day we were on the boat with my parents, and my husband and I went fishing. We had been catching fish all week, but for some reason, that day the fish weren’t really biting. We kept waiting and trying again a little later, but things didn’t look hopeful.
After running back to the boat to wait more, my dad said, “I’ll come out, and then we will catch them.” He said it with assurance and confidence. And I believed him.
Sure enough, the second he cast the pole out, we all started catching fish. One after another after another, we were reeling them in.
Be strong and courageous…
I have been reading the book of Joshua, and his story reminds me that when God leads us into battle, the victory is already won. God won’t set His beloved up for failure. That is against His nature. And there is a trust that comes with knowing this.
When we trust in Him, He fights our battles, as we are still. All we have to do is walk in obedience, and His promise will be fulfilled. It is not a question, but a truth. If we have God’s assurance, there will always be victory!
But it always amazes me that God had to assure Joshua 3 times in the first 9 verses of chapter 1 to be strong a courageous. Joshua must have needed that abundance of assurance, just like I need that abundant of assurance so many times. It gives me comfort to know that God’s response to us would be similar.
What does being courageous mean?
The task for Joshua may have seemed impossible. And I love that God’s love doesn’t back down as our fears are in front of us, and building up. As our fears build, His assurance that He goes before us, and is with us, stays the same.
The same words (be strong and courageous) are said to him again at the end of the chapter by the officers of the people.
But this word for courageous that is used holds depth. Along with it meaning brave, it also means choosing to stand firm. Solid. Secured. To make firm or obstinate (which means, according to my Blue Letter Bible app, “to stubbornly refuse to change one’s chosen course of action despite being persuaded to do so”). Wow. This means courage!
Beyond this, there is one important thing easily missed in these verses, because the Hebrew text for verse 6 reads differently than our Bible reads. The verse begins with another word. And that word is “only”. Only be strong and courageous. Let that sink in.
God doesn’t want our strength and courage to be balanced with fear and doubt. He wants us to only walk with His strength and courage, fully believing that He will give us the victory.
I was amazed at Joshua’s confidence in his leadership and the authority God had given him. This is very apparent as he prepares the Israelites to cross the Jordan. They listened to him, and I can only imagine it was because he was so assured that God was going to do just as He said. Scripture tells us over and over that they listened to Joshua and did as he commanded them to do. Just as Joshua did everything that God had commanded him to do.
I bet the Israelites felt assured by Joshua’s strength and courage. And that is what a true leader does. Leads by only being strong and courageous as God leads. People want to follow a courageous leader, especially when approaching a battle, or situations that may look grim.
I felt this in a small way with my dad the other day. We didn’t catch fish without his assurance and presence.
And this truth extends to our relationship with God. We can’t be strong and courageous without God’s assurance and presence. And His presence to be with us is a promise. And with His presence and promise will be victory.
So let’s take this as an encouragement to us. To only remain steadfast in what God leads us to do. And stubbornly refuse to change direction.