August 1 - Be Strong and Courageous

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August 1 - Be Strong and Courageous
Deut. 31:6, 7; Joshua 1:6, 7, 9, 18; 10:25, 1 Ch. 22:13; 28:20; 2 Ch 32:7

Moses told Israel that Joshua would take them into the Promised Land.  Then he told them the Lord would be preparing the way for them.  They were to go forth with that knowledge in the hearts and minds.  “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord Your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Moses brought Joshua out and in front of everyone, he repeated the words directly to  Joshua, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their forefathers to give them.”

That was in Deuteronomy.  By the time we get to the opening verses of the book of Joshua, Moses has died.  The Lord himself said to Joshua, over and over … “Be strong and courageous.  Be strong and very courageous.”  “I have commanded you. Be strong and courageous.”

Then, the greatest thing happened.  Joshua began organizing the people and giving them orders to go forward.  The people answered Joshua, affirming that he was their leader.  They would obey him in the same way they had obeyed Moses (for my money, that should have scared him more than encouraged him).  At the end of their response, they said to Joshua, “Only be strong and courageous!”

We don’t see these words again until the tenth chapter of Joshua.  The Israelites had captured the Amorite kings and destroyed their armies.  After the battle was over, Joshua ordered that the kings be brought out of the cave in which they’d been imprisoned.  This time it was his turn to say to his commanders, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the Lord will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.”  Then, he killed the kings and they went on to conquer more of the territory.

Do you notice the progression that has occurred?  Courage was built up in people until they could encourage others.

Moses reminded the people and Joshua himself to be strong and courageous.  The Lord told Joshua three times to be strong and courageous.  When the people affirmed his leadership, they encouraged him.

Then … when it was necessary, the true strength of Joshua’s leadership came forth and he was able to encourage his people.  Be strong and courageous, the Lord is with you.

This is the story of the Cowardly Lion.  The others encouraged him all along the road and when he needed to be courageous, he was!

Who do you need to encourage today.  Remind each other.  Be strong and courageous!  The Lord is with you.