Be Strong and Courageous
This morning, I began my study in Joshua, and the words begin with the same words God spoke to Moses “Be Strong and Courageous.” God promised victory to Joshua, but he had to “be strong and courageous.” God told Joshua to obey the commands of Torah (the Law of Moses), but he had to “be strong and courageous.” And if he did these things, God would give him victory wherever he set his foot. This is a small speech, relatively, in terms of the Bible, but God gives Joshua everything he needs for Israel to be successful in its campaign to take the Holy Land (Paraphrased. See full below): “I will be with you, I will never leave or forsake you. Be Strong and Courageous, for I will cause this people to inherit the land. Be strong and Courageous and do what is in the Law of Moses, and do not turn away from it. I have commanded you, so be strong and courageous.”
Think about this: God promises He will be with Joshua, always, so he needs to be strong and courageous. He will cause the people to inherit the land. Joshua needs to be strong and courageous in following God’s commands, and since God has commanded him, Joshua needs to be strong and courageous. That’s a lot to unpack, isn’t it?
Here’s the thing, though, the words for Joshua still apply to us. God is with us, so we need to be strong and courageous. Why do we bow down to the world if God is with us? Why do we make concessions to people (even those we love), if God has promised us His presence? If God is for us, who can be against us? The worst one can do to us is kill us, and that is just sending us on an express flight home. If we’re tortured for Jesus, we can rejoice in our suffering, because, as the early church did and as many continue to do today, we’re sharing in the suffering of Christ. If God is with us, nothing, not even death, can stop what He’s about to do. Only be strong and courageous.
He will cause us to inherit what He’s promised. I am not talking of a physical kingdom, a physical territory, riches and wealth, as some preachers state, but we’re inheriting treasures stored in heaven where rust and moth cannot destroy, nor a thief break in and steal. God will cause us to inherit the Kingdom here, when we see people turn from Sin to a new life in Him. God will cause us to see His glory, when He takes hold of lives and turns them to His Glory. Only be strong and courageous.
If we’re obedient to the voice and calling of God, He will give us victory, wherever our feet land. The world will send against us its armies, but God will have the final say. The world will tell us we’re following outdated and archaic sayings, that we should be free to express who we are, and not follow ancient traditions, and fight tooth and nail for us to conform (ironically enough) to its ways. Yet if we’re obedient to the voice of God, careful to do what He commands, we’ll see His victory, whether on this ground, or in the next life. Only be strong and courageous. Loved ones: be strong and very courageous, for the Lord Your God is with you wherever you go.
After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. 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. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful 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 courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.