Be Strong and Courageous
I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. - Joshua 1:9 NRSV
Joshua had some enormous shoes to fill. His mentor of many years, Moses, had just died, and now leading this ragtag group of ungrateful and obstinate people was up to him. He had witnessed their disobedience in following Yahweh and his spokesperson Moses -- remember the Gold Calf incident for one. Facing Israel, in the years ahead, there would be numerous battles with surrounding nations to claim the Promised Land. How small, insignificant, unprepared, and alone he must have felt. Like God spoke with Moses, he now communicated with Joshua, giving him the words of encouragement he desperately needed to hear, “Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Can’t we all appreciate how Joshua felt? Haven’t there been times when we have felt woefully inadequate for what we know we will face? The words spoken to Joshua thousands of years ago are offered to us today, “Don’t fear and become overwhelmed; I am with you every step of the way. Take courage in me. I will give you strength.” Whatever we are going through today; sickness, financial concerns, fractured relationships, you name it -- God is there to give us whatever we need to face the challenge. With God at our side, we can never be alone.
Precious and loving God, we give thanks for the courage and strength you give us to face the difficult times. In you, we need not fear and distress. We place all confidence and trust in you. When we become discouraged and our faith falters, please remind us of your promise. In your Son, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.