‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’ – NIVUK
When did you last feel afraid or discouraged?
Do you feel that God is with you wherever you go?
Moses has died and the people of Israel stand on the edge of the Promised Land.
For forty years they followed a leader whose face literally shone with light from the presence of God.
Now Joshua was chosen to bring the forty years of wandering in the desert due to the people’s indiscretions.
In these first nine verses, Joshua is told by God, three times to be strong and courageous.
He also tells Joshua twice that He will be with him wherever he goes and always.
Notice how God places words in opposition in this verse:
- strong and not afraid
- courageous and not discouraged
The opposite of afraid is not to be unafraid, but to be strong.
The opposite of discouraged in to have courage but to be courageous.
Both of the opposites God provides Joshua with are active words – be strong and active against your feelings of being afraid. To be courageous is an act where being discouraged prevents you from action.
In the face of uncertainty and unfavourable conditions God reminds Joshua to take action because God will be with him wherever he goes – another active word.
I am sure that all of us can call to mind examples of when we have been afraid or discouraged, and some of these occasions maybe very recent.
We face many challenges in life and many situations where it is easy to worry and lack the confidence to move forward.
Some of us may also feel that we have been wandering for many years and we have not been able to settle.
We probably also compare ourselves to others who have gained many accomplishments in life.
In this verse in Joshua God reminds him that as He was with Moses, he will also be with him.
It is easy when reading the Old Testament to see interactions like this between God and His chosen people and view them as being then and not now.
It is the same God interacting with us, however.
Through Jesus we are now part of God’s chosen people, but rather than communicating with us through chosen leaders, God communicates with us individually through the Holy Spirit.
Just as God told Joshua to be active – be strong and courageous – in the face of his fear and belief that he couldn’t succeed, He tells us the same.
Our belief in God doesn’t always mean that we won’t face challenges but it should alter the way we react to them.
Take confidence in yourself just as God has confidence in you.
Step forward in Faith and meet the challenges through prayer and fellowship, and remember that wherever we go – an action – God will be with you!