Joshua was Moses’ successor. God chose him, and Moses put his hands on him. The Lord spoke directly to Joshua. We have them word for word in Joshua 1:2-9. God tells him, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee (Joshua 1:5b). Then, God tells him the first time, Be strong and of a good courage (verse 6). Again, God tells him, Only be thou strong and very courageous (verse 7a).
It’s what comes next that’s fascinating. God doesn’t say Joshua has to be strong and courageous because he’ll have to fight a lot of military battles—as was the case and as we’d expect. Look what comes next: 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 whithersoever thou goest. 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 (7-8).
God is telling Joshua that he needs to be strong and courageous so that he can obey God’s law. I love the end of verse 8: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Immediately, God repeats His encouragement. 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 (verse 9).
So, Joshua goes home and sits down and thinks about everything he’s been told. (I’m kidding!) No! He immediately commands the officers of the people to get ready. He takes charge. He manifests strength and courage. After all, he has God’s presence with him!
The people’s response? All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go. According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee: only the LORD thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses. . . . only be strong and of a good courage (16b-17, 18b). Isn’t that the most amazing thing? The people were encouraging Joshua with God’s words!
I find some encouragement for my own life, here. Let me share.
- God promises His presence with His children. It’s as real today as it was back then.
- God encourages His people. God is there, telling us to be strong and of a good courage, not to be afraid nor dismayed—because He is with us. Now that’s encouragement!
- We’re not clueless. All we need to know is God’s Word.
- Obedience to God’s Word brings success. It might not look like it in the world’s eyes, but this kind of success is real success. Pleasing God guarantees blessing.
- We’re to obey immediately. When we know what God wants us to do, obey right away.
- Encourage others using God’s Word. Share a Bible verse today!
Here’s one to encourage you:
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.