In Joshua 1:9, God says to Joshua, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
When we think of the commandments , how many of us consider this part of the commandments? If you’re like me, we tend to focus so much on the commandments that tell us what not to do. We rightfully want to be very far away from the things God hates. But what about the commandments to do and be? To be strong and courageous.
God’s Surprising Command to the Israelites
Isn’t it profound that in order to take the territory that God had already given the Israelites, they had to be commanded to be strong and courageous. Numbers 13:1-2 states:
And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a leader among them.”
To take control of their inheritance, did they only need to be physically strong? They took all the able bodied men of a certain age, and God handed over their enemies in war. Or perhaps they also had to be emotionally and mentally strong? Consider the report of the spies in Numbers 13: 32 – 33:
And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
But no; instead of physical or emotional strength, they needed courage. In the natural, the task of conquering the ‘land of milk and honey’ looked impossible. They couldn’t imagine being able to take their destiny, even though they knew God had already given it to them. Being a grasshopper before a giant sounds pretty dismal. The spies had looked at how small they were and forgot how great the God they serves is.
What This Means for Us
There are times when we, in our humanity, focus so much on our own inadequacy that we forgot the God who sent us. God gives us a dream or a mission to accomplish, and it’s too big in our eyes. The dream is our metaphorical land of milk and honey with giants in our way, and we’re just a grasshopper.
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We have to take our focus off of us and put it where it belongs: on the One who sent us. God has already given us the victory. He commands us to be strong and courageous and to seize our promise. We have to go out and take hold of our inheritance.
Sometimes we miss the teaching. Just because it has your name on it doesn’t mean it will just fall on your lap. You have to go out boldly, with strength and courage, knowing that God has told you to take it and redeem your destiny. He will provide the steps for each day.
Above all, let’s keep our minds and hearts focused on the unfailing truth that God is with us wherever we go. And if God is for us, who can be against us?