“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.” Joshua 1:6 NIV
Three times in Joshua 1, God told Joshua to be strong and courageous. Joshua marched forward to face intimidating foes in obedience to God’s direction. Over and over again, he demonstrated success just as God had promised.
Next in Joshua 1:18, we hear the Israelites proclaiming they will be strong and courageous. Joshua had modeled it for them. They vow to go wherever Joshua commands them to go (v.16).
After a miraculous victory over the five Amorite kings, Joshua used this as another teaching moment. He asked each of the Israelites to place their feet on the neck of each of the kings. He used this physical metaphor to demonstrate how God was going to deliver them from every enemy they were ever going to face.
Here is what I gleaned from this:
- Sometimes God has to tell us something more than once for it to move from our heads to our hearts and then into action.
- Actions are stronger than words. Joshua could have told the Israelites to be strong and courageous, but he showed them how to be strong and courageous. Joshua led by example.
- Joshua’s example was so strong that his armies vowed to be strong and courageous as well. They not only had confidence in Joshua; they had confidence in God.
- After many victories, and perhaps the greatest victory of all, Joshua paused. He paused to symbolically memorialize how God had delivered them from their enemies thus far. Joshua also acknowledged that God would continue to deliver them from every enemy they were to face going forward.
Father, thank you for the examples you have given of faithful servants that have gone before me. Help me to trust You and be strong and courageous in facing the battles of this world.