Be Strong and Courageous- Joshua 1:7-9

Posted: October 30, 2010 in Faith&Scripture

“Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you.  Do not turn away from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.  This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success.  Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  (Joshua 1:7-9)


“Be strong and very courageous.” When God gives us a dream, a mission, or a calling, we must be strong.  Strong in faith, strong in our decision making, strong in leadership, and strong in attitude and action.  We must also be very courageous.  Courage is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to proceed boldly in the face of our fears.  If there is no fear involved, then courage is not necessary.  It is not that the Courageous Christian never experiences fear- it is only that in the midst of feeling afraid, we decide to do what God has called us to do in spite of that fear.  Unfortunately, many of us assume that if we are afraid of something, than we do not have the courage to face it.  Take for example, sharing our faith with others- most of us find that in the moment before we open our mouth to share the Gospel (or engage in a Gospel directed conversation) we experience a tinge (or tidal wave) of fear.  That fear, however, should not and must not overwhelm us, but rather we should proceed in the midst of our fear.


“Being careful to do according to all the Law.” We do not run into a battle, a mission, or a calling without first examining God’s Word and discovering God’s Way in that situation.  God does not call us to do something and then bless us as we try to do it our own way in our own strength.  No, we must “be careful” to go through the process according to God’s Word and it’s instruction.  Joshua’s way surely would not have included him marching around Jericho with trumpet, but if Joshua had done things his own way, the Israelites would have been defeated.  If God gives us a calling or a dream and we desire to have God’s intended outcome for that calling or dream, than we must “be careful” to carry out that calling or dream according to His desired way.


“Do not turn way from it, from the right hand or to the left.” It is easy to get “off track” either in our relationship with God, our obedience to His Word, or in the dream that God has called us to.  Don’t get discouraged by peripheral things (those things to the right or the left), but stay focused on God, His Word, and His plan for your life.  One of Satan’s greatest ploys is to distract the believer by the things to his “right” or to his “left.”  In our culture of multimedia, marketing, and mixed messages, it is becoming increasingly difficult to remain focused on God and His plan for our lives.  It takes an uncommon dedication to focus and not become distracted by the flashing lights and blaring sounds of the world around us.  As Christ followers, it is essential that we follow our Savior’s example by finding times to get away from the crowd and the distractions to spend time alone with the Lord.  If Jesus made it a priority to get away and be alone with God so that He coulr maintain His focus, we to should make this a priority as well.


“That you may have good success.” Good success is God Success.  When God is most glorified in us is when we are most successful.  Don’t let the world define your success by material things, fame, and personal accolades.  God Success will only come as a result of our intense focus on God, His Word, and His plan for your life.  If you lose that focus, you will not accomplish all that God has for you.  While worldly success is often mistaken as “God Success,” (example-  Person A is rich so therefore God is pleased with his success) so too, God Success is often mistaken as worldly failure (example-  Person B is working in difficult conditions with little financial reward).  Yet, it is the one who accomplishes “God Success” that discovers true fulfillment, joy, and eternal rewards (all of these are unseen in this world), while the one who accomplishes worldly success is often empty, distraught, and destined for judgement.  Choose to pursue “God Success” and don’t be confused or dismayed when it does not line up with how the world defines success.


“Wherever you go.” Our success, happiness, joy or fulfillment is not dependent on our location, because our God is Omnipresent.  Wherever we go, He will be there.  It is always scary going to a new place, for so many reasons, but God is truly all we need and He will meet our needs in every circumstance.  We cannot “go to the promised land,” and stay where we are too.  All throughout Scripture, we see God telling His people to “go.”  He tells us to GO for two reasons with one purpose: Reason 1-  To deepen our faith and dependence on Him alone.  Reason 2-  To bring the world to Him (Make disciples of all nations…).   He does all this for the PURPOSE of His Glory!


Shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night.” What is on our mind will be in our mouth.  A strong and courageous leader will keep his focus on the source of his strength- God’s Word, God’s Power, God’s Presence.  If you take your mind off of God’s Word, one of two things will ultimately take place.  1)  You will get distracted from the mission, vision, or dream that God has called you to.  You will find yourself entertaining other, less meaningful ideas or thoughts and you will find yourself talking about those things that are not central to the plan and vision that God has given you.  The other inevitable result of taking your mind off of God’s Word is 2) You will lose courage to pursue your vision, dream, or mission and you will lose strength and power to carry through that vision to the end.  Yet, when your mind is focused on God’s Word, you will find yourself filled with confidence, strength, courage, and an intense focus on God and His plan for your life.  You will find answers to your struggles, even when you are not looking for them.  Equally important, you will have God’s Word in your mouth.  In the end, people are not looking for our opinions, “best guesses,” and “gut feelings,” but rather,  they are looking for their leader to give them a Word from God.  It may seem obvious and simple to say it, but you cannot give people “a word from God,” if you are not consistently immersed in the “Word of God.”


“So that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.” The end result of reading, studying, meditating, and speaking God’s Word is DOING IT.  Again, we see the phrase “be careful” and we are reminded that living according to God’s Word is not an accident and it is not our natural, default inclination in any given situation.  To “be careful” is to be intentional with great care.  While we may think that we can simply obey God and live for Him naturally, or whenever the whim or fancy hits us, the truth is that the meditation on His Word and the speaking of His Word to ourselves and to others are both essential ingredients in living our a consistent, Spirit-filled life of obedience to God.  If you try to live for God on a daily basis without spending time in God’s Word,  meditating on it, and speaking it to yourself and others, you will probably find that your level of obedience to God is very “hit or miss” at best and downright disappointing at worst.


For then” At the very center of this passage, in the hub of this web of courage, strength, success, and prosperity is our own interaction with God’s Word.  It cannot be overstated that there is a direct correlation between a believers dedication to God’s Word and his ability to live in obedience to God, be strong, courageous, and successful.


“You will make your way prosperous and you will have good success.” Never confuse the success you may have as anything other than God’s unmerited grace and mercy on your life.  “Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of heavenly lights. (James 1:17)  “Apart from me (Jesus) you can do nothing. (John 15:5)  This being said, God seems to be indicating to Joshua that the success and prosperity that He is promising will come in cooperation with Joshua’s obedient hard work and effort.  While God will ultimately provide, Joshua must “make his way.”  It is important to know that in most cases, God blesses us through our own “sanctified sweat” in life and ministry.  James tells us that “faith apart from works is dead.” (James 3:26)  It seems as though the formula for God’s Success in our lives is this-  Faith that God will do/accomplish His purposes in our lives + Working hard in demonstration of that faith = God Success.  The person who has great faith but does not work hard will never see God’s full blessing in His life.  The one who works hard in his own strength apart from faith in God and His Way may accomplish temporal, worldly success, but ultimately will miss out oun God’s success for his life.


“Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.” God commands us to be strong and courageous!  This is not a pep-rally in which God is hoping He might get Joshua psyched up, but a command.  A command with the same weight as, “Do not murder,” or “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.”  It is not optional and it is not limited to Joshua.  God commands all of us (who are leaders in our own area of influence) to “be strong and courageous.”  What if each of us were to take this command seriously?  Would our churches be different?  Our schools?  Our towns?  Our nation?  As believers, our strength and courage should cause us to stand out and draw unbelievers to God.  There is a generation of young people today who are lost, hurting, and scared that are looking for someone in this world to show them how to be strong and courageous in the midst of their world that is crashing around them.  Are we as believers promoting a spirit of fear (fear of the world, evil influences, Satan) or one of “power, love, and self-discipline?”  (2 Timothy 1:7)  People naturally flee in fear, but are inspired and drawn to courage.


“Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you.” By all accounts, Joshua (and Caleb) were the bravest of all the Israelites.  Yet, even these courageous warriors and men of God were vulnerable to experiencing moments of fear, doubt and discouragement.  Whenever you find yourself in those moments, you must be reminded of the reality that “God is with you” (Immanuel).  I know that in my life I have to stop and remember this fact and I have to take time to remember that God is not only “with” me, but He is also “for” me.  If God is “for us” than who or what can be against us?  As we meditate on that truth, we find that in the inner recesses of our soul that there remains a reservoir of courage that begins to flood our spirit again.  The reality of the presence of God in our lives is the well from which our courage to face difficult situations springs up in our lives.


“Wherever you go.”  Both Joshua and the Lord knew that he was being sent to a new land, with new people, new challenges, and new successes and that Joshua would need to know that God would be with him wherever he went.  As Jonah learned, you can’t run from God and David proclaimed that there is nowhere we can go apart from God’s presence, Joshua also discovered that if God sends you, you can go know ing that He is going with your, He is going ahead of you and He is following behind you to be sure that whatever you do and wherever you go, He will be there.


“Heavenly Father, please use me and others who are called by your name to raise up a Joshua generation for Your glory, Your fame and Your renown!  Make us strong and courageous.  Send us out in boldness of faith.  Make us lovers and doers of your Holy Word.  Give us God Success as we pursue the dreams, calling and mission that you have given us.  Show Yourself to be real and powerful in a lost, dying and hopeless world.  In Jesus name I ask these things, Amen”



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