To be courageous is an admonition given to many throughout the Bible including Moses, Joshua, Elijah, Isaiah, and Jesus’ disciples. Strength and courage seem to wane as we face challenges to our faith in unprecedented numbers in our interactions with the world and within our own families.
The words, “be strong and courageous” came to Joshua after Moses died and Joshua became the leader of the Israelites. It was Joshua’s task to take the Israelites into the Promised Land and God said to Joshua, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified or dismayed (intimidated), for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 AMP)
Be strong and courageous, easier said than accomplished. Let’s break it into smaller pieces to get a better grasp.
The Lord, my God, is with me, everywhere, because His presence is carried within.
Joshua knew God was with him because throughout the Israelites’ wilderness wanderings he had seen Moses’ interactions with God and witnessed God’s manifest presence as a cloud by day and fire by night as He led them to the Promised Land.
How can we, thousands of years later, know this constant presence of God?
Jesus came as Immanuel which means “God with us.” While He walked the earth Jesus was fully human and fully divine and He dwelt among the people. Jesus was physically with the people. He ate with them, celebrated with them, cried with them, comforted them, touched them, healed them. Jesus was the manifest presence of God on earth.
Jesus was neither extraordinarily handsome nor majestic (Is. 53:2) but something set Him apart from others, His Spirit (Phil 2:7-9). Those who followed Him began to understand the difference, who He really was; the promised Messiah. This Messiah came and lived among the people.
However, there is more to the story.
Jesus’ death and resurrection brought the time in which we now live when God dwells within us. Jesus promised His disciples, those who believed in Him and wanted to be like Him, they would not be left alone as the Holy Spirit would come and fill them with His presence (John 14:15-31). Not only would the Holy Spirit fill them but also endue them with power (Luke 24:49). This power was proven through the works of the apostles throughout the book of Acts. These ordinary people were performing extraordinarily because of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Acts 4:13).
These same men showed others the Holy Spirit would fill and indwell anyone who chose to be a disciple of Jesus; follow Him, obey Him, and seek His presence. That means us!
Through His Holy Spirit we have God’s constant presence and power because He dwells within us. We are strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit to be strong and courageous and move forward.
Be not dismayed (intimidated).
Being courageous does not mean we will not have challenging times. In fact, it means the opposite. Jesus Himself said, “In this world you will have trouble…” (John 16:33) He completed this statement by saying, “Take heart! I have overcome the world!”
I like the wording of Joshua 1:9 from the amplified Bible because it says not to be intimidated. Challenges, people, situations will arise against us, yet we can live unintimidated, undaunted, and filled with confidence and joy by the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Finally, God began His part of the dialogue with Joshua with a question,
“Have I not commanded you?”
God commanded Joshua to move forward and take the Israelites into the Promised Land. God emphasized to Joshua to be strong and courageous because He was already with Joshua and would continue to be with him. God says the same to us today.
In the life of every Christian—those who carry the Name with them everywhere they go, those who carry the Gospel and are ready to share it with everyone they meet—there will come a time when we are directed to carry out a task and even take a stand. Sometimes we will stand alone when everyone else says it cannot be done. Yet, when God directs us to act we can stand firm that He will enable us to do it. We can step forward, following God’s command in our lives, confident in Him.
We are strong in the power of the Holy Spirit and courageous with the resolve to go with what we already know amid the challenges that come along the way.
Walk in the POWER of the Holy Spirit and Be Strong and Courageous today!