Joshua 1:7 ——Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.
Courage doesn’t mean you don’t run into fearful circumstances. It means you do run into fearful circumstances, and you do it with confidence and without fear. You do it with resolution. It’s a quality that God gives to us as we trust in Him, but it’s not an option for the servant of the Lord.
God didn’t say to Joshua, “I hope you will be strong and courageous. I hope you won’t be frightened.” God says, “Only be strong and very courageous.”
If someone faces a challenge and loses courage, he’s going to feel weak. He’s going to feel inadequate. He’s going to feel, “I can’t handle this.” But if a person has courage, he’s going to be strengthened by that courage, and he’s going to tackle whatever is before him with confidence and strength.
God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous a second time. God was speaking to the inherent human weakness in Joshua and saying,“I want to infuse you with strength, the strength of My Spirit, the strength of My presence, the strength of My promises, the strength of My Word. Be strong. Be courageous. Don’t be frightened. Don’t be dismayed.”
To be strong and courageous in the midst of challenges is an expression of faith. It’s an exercise of the will. It’s a choice we can make to run head-on into the situation by God’s grace. God says, “You are to be strong and of good courage. You are not to be frightened or dismayed.”
God anointed David a Shepherd boy to become a king. But David had to fight Goliath. When David faced Goliath he did it God’s way and was victorious. The victory made Saul jealous of David and he attempted to kill David forcing him to flee. God’s protection was on David, but David had to learn to trust God and obey His voice.
David led a comfortable in his Father’s house but after Samuel came and anointed him, his life changed. He had to face Goliath. Saul’s jealousy and the desire to do away with David forced him to live a life fleeing from one place to the next. However, in the midst of all this, David kept his eyes fixed on God. He wrote the Psalms in the midst of trials but developed a stronger relationship with God.
How many of you right now in your lives are facing situations—one or more situations—where your natural response could be to be frightened or dismayed?
So we need these words. God gave this instruction not just to Joshua but for our instruction, for our exhortation. “Be strong and of good courage. Do not be frightened or dismayed.”