Thursday, March 10, 2016

Be Courageous!

“Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous!  Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
-God speaking to Joshua, in Joshua 1:9

Could Joshua Really Do This?

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Moses had died, and now Joshua was beginning his leadership of God’s people.  But how do you follow Moses?  Moses was a legend in his own time, and his legacy as an all-time great leader would only grow through the years.  Joshua had to be at least a little afraid of failure, trying to stand in Moses’ shoes.

What’s more, how was Joshua supposed to lead the Israelites in taking the promised land?  Joshua had always been a good military leader (that’s how we first meet him in Exodus 17:9), but conquering the stronger, entrenched nations of Canaan?  There’s a reason the Israelites had been too scared to try about 40 years earlier. 

Yet God’s command to Joshua is given repeatedly in Deuteronomy chapter 31 and Joshua chapter 1: Be strong and courageous! 

How Do You Build Courage?

I have often thought about what a strange command this is.  If I am afraid, how can I just “be courageous?!”  How do I stop being afraid?  Fears are real, and oftentimes they really do hold us back.  It seems strange to just tell someone to stop being afraid and start being courageous.