“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9 NLT
As Joshua was about to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land, God had some instructions for his people. God told Joshua that he should be strong and courageous because he, Joshua, would be the one who would lead the people to possess the land promised to their ancestors. God told Joshua that no one could stand against him because He would be there with him all the days of his life. God told Joshua that he and the people of Israel should be strong and courageous. They would be successful as long as they obeyed the instructions that He had handed down to them through Moses. They would be successful as long as they stayed on the path God set for them to follow, without deviating to the left or the right. They would prosper and find success if they studied and meditated on His Word. And then God said, “This is my command—be strong and courageous!”
It’s the first part of that statement that really stands out to me: “This is my command.” God wasn’t saying, “Hey, Joshua, listen. Here’s my suggestion: be strong and courageous.” He wasn’t saying, “Look, in my opinion, you need to do be strong and courageous.” He was saying, “This is what I expect from you. This is what I’m telling you to do. Be strong and courageous.” It was not a recommendation, it was not a request. It was a command. They were to be strong and they were to be courageous. They were not to let their fears paralyze them or cause them to want to give up. Why? Because God would be with them wherever they went. God was bigger and stronger than their fears. And He would be with them no matter what enemy they faced, no matter what obstacles stood in their way.
God’s command to Joshua and the people of Israel is His command to us today. Whatever enemies we may face, whatever obstacles stand in our way, He is there. And because He is there, we must be strong and courageous. We must not let fear get the best of us and cause us to give up. There is no mountain that God can’t help us climb. There is no darkness that God can’t help us see our way through. There is no enemy that God can’t help us defeat. When we walk on the path that He sets for us, when we keep His Word in our hearts and our minds and obey that Word, we can be sure that He is with us every step of the way. When we face the enemies and obstacles in our lives with God by our side, there is no reason to be afraid, there is no reason to become discouraged. God is greater!