Be Strong and Courageous

Written 3 years ago as my Facebook Post, I needed this today:

Youthful zeal is a good thing. As a high school and college student, I had confidence in a God who answered my prayers and I knew that through Him I could conquer giants. Time and circumstances can wear away at your confidence, if given the opportunity, or time and circumstances can build your faith to see the faithfulness of God in all things.

I am struck this morning by the life of Joshua. He lived a long life and saw the miraculous. If I’ve got this all calculated out right, he crossed the Red Sea and saw the armies of Pharaoh drown in the water. He spied out the Promised Land at the age of around 40. He wasn’t intimidated at the size of the giants in the land or their fortified cities. Instead He boldly said, “The Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” (Numbers 14:9)

Due to the Israelite’s rebellion, he wandered with them for 40 years depending on the Lord’s provisions of Quail and Manna. He saw the constant complaining of the people. He was there when the people worshiped the golden calf. He experienced all the hardships of wandering and watched as one by one the people who rebelled died. Once again at the age of around 80 he was given the chance to go in and conquer giants.

This is what sticks out to me the most in the story of his life. Joshua 1:9 “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.”

God comes to Joshua and tells him, “You are going to lead this people into the land I have promised. I am going to go with you. You are going to conquer the land.” But more than anything, He tells Joshua more than once, “Be strong and courageous.” He encourages him to not be afraid. Could it be that there was a reason for that? Joshua knew what was ahead. He knew there were fortified cities. He knew there were giants. He saw them. Could it be that the 40 years of wandering and watching may have worked a little on his resolve? He knew he had a big God capable of miraculous intervention, but he also knew the hardship of walking out God’s plan for him in 40 years of wandering with God’s people. Maybe Joshua needed to hear God say, “Don’t be afraid.”

I’ve always pictured Joshua as some muscle bound, warrior. Chomping at the bit to go out and conquer it all. It’s quite a bit different to picture him as an 80 year old man, who has seen a lot in his lifetime and may be a little weary from the journey. It may be possible that Joshua needed to hear, “Be strong and courageous.” Straight from the lips of God. So he would know that God really wasn’t done with him yet. He had plans for him and promises yet to be fulfilled.

Giants in the land can be quite the intimidating thing. Fortified cities can stand before you as a mountainous obstacle. Wandering around for 40 years can wear on your resolve.

Sometimes I can look at what I perceive I must face in front of me and I may feel like the 80 year old Joshua inside of me. I know I have a faithful God. I have seen Him do great miracles. Yet I stand at the beginning of yet another adventure and wonder, “Do I have the stuff to conquer the giants facing me?” Here is where I can find great comfort in looking at the life of Joshua. Forty years later, at the age of 120, as he knew he was getting close to dying he says these words, “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.” Joshua 23:14.

He fought many hard battles as they conquered the Promised Land. But he also knew the secret to his success. “The Lord God fights for you. Just as He promised. ” Joshua 23:10

My giants I face may stand looming as great opponents of significant size, but my God who fights for me is bigger than whatever battle I face. Not one promise of my God will fail me. They will all be fulfilled, and I stand as a victor against my enemies that rise up and try to cause me to walk in fear and doubt.

Now is not the time at the age of 45 to curl up and say that life is too hard. Now is the time to go on in and let the Lord fight for me as He leads me to the place He has given me. His place of Victory in Jesus.

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