be strong and courageous

Today's devotion from Joshua 1 & 2.

Today, we not only move on from Deuteronomy and into Joshua, but we leave the Pentateuch, the five books authored by Moses, and enter into the story of the conquest. As we begin, we find out that Moses is gone. His immense presence and leadership has left the people, but God has equipped Joshua for the task of leading the people into God’s promise.

I think that it is incredibly telling that God repeatedly has to tell them to “be strong and courageous.” One would imagine that they had waiting long years for permission to cross the river. I can almost imagine how the energy and excitement would have been palpable in the camp. Yet, even in the things that we are looking forward to starting, we can experience fear when the moment arrives.

Their longtime leader was taken, then Joshua was tasked with the responsibility of leading the Israelites into the Promised Land. Who was supposed to be strong and courageous? Was it just Joshua as he led? What of the Israelites who had already allowed fear to keep them from entering the Promised Land? In chapter 2, wouldn’t the spies need to be strong and courageous? What about Rahab? Wouldn’t it take courage to essentially commit treason?

Following God into promise is not an easy thing. I preached my first sermon in September of 1997, and I can tell you that I still get nervous just before I enter the pulpit. Following God requires commitment and dedication. It depends on Him, and therefore is often a situation or task that calls for faith. Whatever God is calling you into, service, salvation, sharing the gospel, quitting a job, changing a relationship, or anything else, it will demand that you be strong and courageous as you obediently follow Him and His leading.