No one shall be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous; for you shall put this people in possession of the land that I swore to their ancestors to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to act in accordance with all the law that my servant Moses commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, so that you may be successful wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to act in accordance with all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall be successful. I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
These are huge sandals that Joshua has to fill! He is to take the place of Moses who was known as a friend of God (Exodus 33:11). Scripture says of Moses, “Never since has there arisen a prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face” (Deuteronomy 34:10). Joshua is no prophet, nor has he ever spoken with God face to face. He is no leadership genius, but is the one God chooses to lead His people into the Promised Land. Few people have probably ever felt a similar burden of responsibility.
Moses knew and understood the trepidation with which Joshua was going to lead, so Moses encouraged him: “Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the LORD your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6). God also understood Joshua’s trepidation, so that three times in just these few verses God commands Joshua to be strong and courageous.
It is significant in today’s text that every time God commands Joshua to be strong and courageous God gives him a reason for being strong and courageous. God is not simply telling him to “man up” but telling him that he can act with courage and strength because God guarantees the victory. Joshua will go forth in the strength of the Lord, as God’s commands always become His enablings.
Perhaps you are facing a seemingly impossible obstacle today. Perhaps you are trying to regain some equilibrium after the death of your spouse. Perhaps you are fighting back against an addiction, or struggling with chronic disease. Or maybe you just want to take a stand for Jesus on your secular campus. Whatever the challenge before you, step in and fill Joshua’s sandals: “Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Find your strength and courage in God. Claim His promises. Step forth and possess your possessions in Him.
- How do you sense that God might be calling you today to act with strength and courage? Take some moments to talk with God about this.