Joshua needed encouragement. Moses had died. Joshua and the children of Israel were on the other side of the Jordan River. The task was great. I don’t know how Joshua felt. He was a military man and sized up the task. The Canaanites meant to keep them out. What Joshua needed God supplied. Be strong and of good courage. God told Joshua this three times in these few verses. See how God works!
Joshua 1:5 There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. 6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. 7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest. 8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. 9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
I’m thankful for God who tell us like it is. He sizes us up and tells us what we need. He offers it to us. Joshua was Commander and Chief of the army of Israel. Moses was a shepherd, not a military man. He was prince in Egypt for a while but spent 40 years as a shepherd and that’s how he led Israel–as a shepherd. Moses led them to the Jordan River and his job was done. We have the job as undershepherd to lead people to the shepherd.
The time had come for the army of Israel to come against the opposition. God said he’d win the victory if the people stood in their place. To stand you need strength and courage. Israel was going to lock horns with some real enemies. They had been against some in their 40 years of wandering but nothing like what was to come. It wasn’t going to be easy. They needed a leader and it was going to be Joshua. He couldn’t go to Moses; he was gone. This time he was on his own. The battle was here. In order to see souls saved we fight against the flesh and a godless society. There was a time when none of us kids were saved. Now we all are. It was an encouragement for me to see them get saved.
Sometimes fear overcomes us. It can be larger than what is in front of us. Joshua was not a young man now. He could have said “Moses isn’t here. I’m not the man I used to be. I’m human.” He could have used all these excuses but God spoke first. He told him that Moses was dead but that he wasn’t by himself. We are a team, a family. God is with us. Even though we may be physically alone at times, we are not alone. God is there.
Records show that since 30 A.D. approximately 2.2 billion people have trusted Jesus. Many more that are not known have. God told Joshua to be strong and of good courage and observe the things of the law and he would prosper. Don’t worry about what lies beyond the Jordan. It’s not in the devil’s hand. It’s in the hand of God and those who believe in him have help.
We are the Joshua’s of our day. Don’t boast of our own courage. We’ll fall flat. Be strong and courageous because of God not ourselves. God said turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest… Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. To have courage is not to be paralyzed by fear. Look at the opposition and be respectful of the power of God. He enables us to stand through and by his assurance and faithfulness. We can count on him. We can face every day and its opposition through the Word of God. Our strength can be gone fast. Come down with the flu and you’ll find out. You get back on your feet day by day. No matter what lies beyond the Jordan you don’t have to face it in fear.
Being a soldier isn’t easy. Think how hard it was for soldiers in Viet Nam. How hard it must be for soldiers in the Middle East to wear their full gear in the hot climate. It’s not easy. This is why we need the strength of God. Joshua won the victory with God. They didn’t have technology; they just marched around Jericho as God told them and the walls fell. God will bring down the walls if we’ll be strong and courageous. It’s not in our power but in the power of God. We still serve the same God as Joshua did. Be strong and of good courage.