You may not struggle with fear or worry. But I do. Not all of the time. But some of the time. And apparently it is a common problem for us humans. There are hundreds of verses in which the Bible tells us to not be fearful. Yet still we fret and fear when faced with a crisis or a hurtful person, an unknown future or a straying heart, or even death itself.
As the children of Israel were poised to cross the Jordan River and enter into their Promised Land, fear was one of the first enemies they faced.
“Then Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel…
‘Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.’ Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, ‘Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.’ ” ~ Deuteronomy 31:1, 6-8
Some of Moses’ final words to the people were words of strength and encouragement. As Christians, we all need to be reminded of these basic truths: God goes with us and will never abandon us.
As the new leader of Israel, Joshua needed to hear those same words, for he had a daunting task ahead of him, and enormous sandals to fill! But good news — in addition to Moses, God Himself encouraged Joshua, and He gave His Word that He would be with him and keep His promises.
“Then He inaugurated Joshua the son of Nun, and said, ‘Be strong and of good courage; for you shall bring the children of Israel into the land of which I swore to them, and I will be with you.’ ” ~ Deuteronomy 31:23
” ‘No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.’ ” ~ Joshua 1:5-9
Take note of the things that Joshua needed to do on his end:
Be strong and of good courage. This is imperative, a command — YOU be strong and of good courage! God said it multiple times!
Observe all of the law. Don’t stray away from it, don’t let it depart from your mouth. Instead, meditate on God’s Word 24/7 and obey it.
Don’t be afraid or dismayed.
Remember. God is with you wherever you go!
How could Joshua ever do all of that? Certainly not in his own power. None of us can do it all in our own selves. But we are given a glimpse of the source of Joshua’s strength.
“And the LORD said to Moses: ‘Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him;’ ” ~ Numbers 27:18
“Now Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; so the children of Israel heeded him, and did as the LORD had commanded Moses.” ~ Deuteronomy 34:9
Joshua was filled with God’s Holy Spirit. And once we accept Jesus as our Saviour, we too are given the Holy Spirit as our teacher, helper, and source of strength. Hallelujah!
In today’s world, there is much to cause us concern, perhaps even fear and trepidation. But these words from the Old Testament are just as relevant and true even now.
Be strong and of good courage. Study and obey God’s Word. Don’t be afraid or dismayed. And remember — God is with us wherever we go!
“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’ ” ~ Hebrews 13:5-6