“Be strong and courageous”
When Moses reached the age of 120 he died. The age limit of 120, by the way, was established by God
after the great flood. The Lord God then chose the son of one of Moses’ aides to be the next leader of
Israel. That would be Joshua. One might assume that he was chosen because of his natural potential to be
a great leader and commander, and that would most likely be based on his physical capabilities, but not
necessarily so. Three times in the first chapter of Joshua’s book he repeats to himself the words of the Lord:
“be strong and courageous.”
What comes to mind of course is that Joshua was encouraging himself; giving himself a pep talk. How often
we all have repeated a mantra to ourselves to conjure up courage. In like manner, with that perhaps being
the situation of Joshua, there is some room for speculation that he was no more physically fit than anyone
else. Here is yet another example of God using anyone willing to obey what God wants. In other words,
striving to do God’s will in your life.
Having rehearsed his mantra and determined to be obedient, what an incredible boost of confidence came
his way when God said “I will give you every place where you set your foot.” Wow, look out world, here I
come. And if that weren’t enough, God also said “No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of
your life.” Now, I have personally known someone who was chosen by God to be a great leader. His name
should be a household word today, except he let his own self get in the way and God lifted His hand of
blessing from him. Not unlike the King Saul situation.
So, along with God’s declaration of protection, we need to be aware that the commitment to humbly follow
God’s leading never ceases. It’s an ongoing never-ending lifestyle. From the great success of Joshua’s
leadership, we can assume confidently that Joshua kept his end of the agreement.
There was more. God gave Joshua specific instruction: “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your
mouth, meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.” Putting it
another way, know the word well, speak it aloud, speak it to yourself and to others. There’s no doubt in my
mind that Joshua did exactly that. How else could he have possibly accomplished amazing victories and
demonstrated such outstanding leadership had it not been for his obedience?
Did he ever move beyond repeating his mantra? I don’t think so. On top of that, God exhorted him with one
more word of encouragement, “Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged.” Just a final reminder. Victory
was a sure thing.