May 5 – Be Strong and Courageous

Joshua 1 – New Living Translation (NLT)

“After the death of Moses the Lord’s servant, the LORD spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant. He said, 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelite’s, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. 3 I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you — 4 from the Negev wilderness in the south to the Lebanon mountains in the north, from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, including all the land of the Hittites.’ 5 No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.

6 “Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. 8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. 9 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.”

These verses today are God’s charge to Joshua as the Israelite’s prepare to cross the Jordan River. Forty years before they ‘chickened out’. They were afraid they couldn’t win in any battles to make that land their own. Now God is telling Joshua how to be strong and courageous. This advice is still pertinent for us today as we face the fear the pandemic brings.

What lead up to this day described in Joshua 1? God had promised Abraham that he would be the founder of a great nation. In Genesis through Numbers, we read the story of Abraham’s son Isaac and then his two sons, Jacob and Esau. Then we read about Jacob’s 12 sons, who would one day be the beginning of the twelve tribes of Israel. One of those sons was Joseph who was sold into slavery and became the most powerful leader in Egypt under Pharaoh. During a wide-spread

famine, Joseph brought his brothers to Egypt. There the fledgling nation of Israel grew over the years and eventually became slaves to the following Pharaohs. Under Moses’ leadership they left Egypt and travelled to the land God had promised them. When they got near the land, they sent several spies to check things out. The report of most of the spies was that they could never conquer that land – too many strong men. Joshua and Caleb disagreed and said that God would help them gain what God had promised. The people chose to disregard Joshua and Caleb, and as a result they ended up wandering in the desert area for very close to 40 years. Moses continued to lead them and Joshua was under Moses’ training to become the next leader. The only two adult men who were present when the decision not to enter the promised land was made – who survived to go into the land – were Joshua and Caleb.

What does God promise in the face of fear?

“For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.” (v. 5) This is a promise God gives to you and me today. Can you be sure of that?

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? … 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow— not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8: 35 – 39)

God will not abandon you or fail you!

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. 8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it.” (v. 7 – 8)

God asks us to follow his instructions. He wants a relationship with us where we are all on the same page. For us in New Testament times, following the rules is not the requirement to be accepted by God. How do I know that? “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2: 8 – 10) When we accept Christ’s death for us on the cross as the punishment for our sin, we become a child of God. Following the rules does not save us, but living the way God asks us to deepens our relationship with him.

So how do we know what God wants? “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” (2 Timothy 3: 16 – 17)

That is what God told Joshua. “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it”. (v. 8) Does that mean we literally have to read our Bibles continually and think about it all day and night? No, but it does mean we take reading our Bibles seriously. It’s not a once on Sunday deal. For example, in a good marriage relationship, a husband and wife will figure out what the other person likes. When a decision needs to be made, you think about what your partner wants. How do you know what they want? You talk about it together. That is what reading your Bible and praying does. It puts you and God in a loving relationship. In that kind of relationship, you can be strong and courageous.

“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.” (v.9) God asks you to trust him. He is with you at all times, even now during the pandemic. The future may look scary as it did for the Israelite’s as they faced battles in taking the promised land for themselves. But God promises he will be with us everywhere we go. So when the anxiety begins, take a deep breath and remember God’s promises to you.

For those who are the essential front-line workers, remember that God backs your need to be courageous. It must be frightening to know you are putting yourself right in the path of Covic-19 every day. Those of us who are staying at home worry about going out. You actually do that all the time! Know we are thankful for your courage. Know that God also encourages you to be courageous.

Be strong and courageous.

If you love music that reflects the thoughts in today’s devotions, here is Shoulders by for King and Country.

I look up to the mountains
Does my strength come from the mountains?

No, my strength comes from God
Who made heaven, and earth, and the mountains

When confusion’s my companion

And despair holds me for ransom I will feel no fear
I know that You are near

When I’m caught deep in the valley With chaos for my company
I’ll find my comfort here
‘Cause I know that You are near

My help comes from You
You’re right here, pulling me through
You carry my weakness, my sickness, my brokenness all on Your shoulders Your shoulders
My help comes from You
You are my rest, my rescue
I don’t have to see to believe that You’re lifting me up on Your shoulders Your shoulders

You mend what once was shattered

And You turn my tears to laughter

Your forgiveness is my fortress
Oh Your mercy is relentless

Refrain

My help is from You
Don’t have to see it to believe it
My help is from you
Don’t have to see it, ’cause I know, ’cause I know it’s true

My help is from You
Don’t have to see it to believe it
My help is from you
Don’t have to see it, ’cause I know, ’cause I know it’s true

My help comes from You
You’re right here, pulling me through
You carry my weakness, my sickness, my brokenness all on Your shoulders Your shoulders
My help comes from You
You are my rest, my rescue
I don’t have to see to believe that You’re lifting me up on Your shoulders Your shoulders

My help is from You
Don’t have to see it to believe it
My help is from you
Don’t have to see it, ’cause I know, ’cause I know it’s true

Repeat

8 Replies to “May 5 – Be Strong and Courageous”

  1. Audrey this song has beautiful lyrics and goes with your devotional beautifully. Just finished studying Is. 43:1-2-3 “don’t be afraid, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name. You are MINE!
    Thank you. It’s my new favorite chorus.

  2. 9 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.” My life verse given by God, when Isaac relapsed from Cancer and we had to make a decision to send him to Vancouver sick kids hospital for stem cell transplant while we’re living in Fort Nelson,BC.
    I saw King and County in concert. One of my favourite songs too!

  3. As people question God through these difficult times this devotion today is a perfect reminder He is here for us. His love is always there and His message to be strong and courageous is helpful to hear especially coming from Him during these times of uncertainty ❤️

  4. Thank you Audrey. What a beautiful song!
    I feel like I go to church everyday reading your daily devotionsals.

  5. Beautiful song..meaningful lyrics..
    “For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.” (v. 5) This is a promise God gives to you and me today. Can you be sure of that?
    Yes, I CAN be sure of that!
    Thank you Audrey for a beautiful start to my day !

  6. Joshua 1:1-6 have my favourite verses for good days and hard day. Thank you Lord, for giving us strength and courage and for always being with us! thanks for the encouragement.

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