God told Joshua to “be strong and courageous” 4 times in just as many verses as He prepared Joshua to lead the Israelites into the promised land. But God doesn’t define “strength” and “courage” the way you might think. Learn how to walk out your calling and live in God’s promises in today’s devotional.

A Pep-Talk from God

For 40 years, Moses led the Israelites through the wilderness as God tested, disciplined, and prepared them for the promised land. As Moses’ successor, Joshua turned nomads into warriors. For the next 40 years following Moses’ death, Joshua commanded the Lord’s army of over 600,000 men and conquered 31 cities.

But before Joshua could begin dethroning kings, he needed a little pep-talk from God.

v 6 Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 

v 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. 

v 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 

v 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:6-9 New King James Version (NKJV)

Isn’t it strange that God told Joshua to be strong and courageous 4 times in just as many verses? I imagine if I were Joshua listening to this redundancy: “Be strong and courageous, because I will give you what you’ve always wanted. Don’t forget to be strong and courageous and do just what I tell you. And didn’t I tell you- be strong and courageous, don’t be afraid or discouraged…”

Must. Resit. Eye-rolling. “Yes God, I get it. I think you said to be strong and courageous.”

But every word from God is life, especially the repetitive ones. So I studied the passage, and I found a truth sandwich bursting with instructions for Christian living. Join me for a quest of knowledge to feed your soul.

Strong and Courageous – A Deeper Meaning

At first glance, the outer layers of the passage appear to be commands to summon the strength of Superman and the courage of a lion. But digging into the original Hebrew of “strong” and “courageous” revealed truth infinitely more enduring than fantasy or wildlife. 

The Hebrew word for “strong” means to “fasten upon.”
Joshua had to cling to God, because the strength and endurance for his momentous calling could only come from the Lord.

The Hebrew word for Courageous means “to be alert.”
A war commander may get complacent after slaying his tenth or twelfth king. So Joshua had to be vigilant because the enemy is always waiting, looking for someone to devour. 

God reveals that to live in His promises, we have to cling to Him and be watchful for the enemy’s distractions. But He doesn’t just say “stay close and pay attention. Good luck, kid.” 

No, our God loves us so much that He not only tells us what to do, He tells us how

Let’s revisit the meat of the passage to learn more. 

v 7 … 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. 

v 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 

Observe God’s Word
We have to keep, protect, and comply with God’s word by how we live.

Speak God’s Word
We must constantly tell each other and remind ourselves of God’s Word so we know how to live.

Meditate on God’s Word
We must learn about God’s word and study it so we can talk about it and live by it. 

A beautiful quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson echoes God’s instructions:

  • Watch your thoughts for they become words,
  • Watch your words for they become actions,
  • Watch your actions, for they become habits,
  • Watch your habits for they become your character,
  • Watch your character for it becomes your destiny.

Joshua clung to God and watched for the enemy by learning the Word, speaking the Word, and living the Word. By this formula, Joshua conquered nations and led over half of a million people to their destiny. 

God’s Word is just as true for us now as it was for Joshua. Whatever trial you face today, cling to Jesus by reading the Bible. Pray and discuss scripture with other believers. Then live out what you learn. Do this every day, with every challenge, so you too will live in God’s promises.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, please help me meditate, speak, and walk in Your Word so I can abide in you and never stray. Thank you for your clear instructions so I can fulfill my calling and live in Your promise. Amen

Devotion Written By

<a href="https://devotableapp.com/author/valerieriese/" target="_self">Valerie Riese</a>

Valerie Riese

Valerie is a wife, mother, blogger, breast cancer survivor, and the co-director of Candidly Christian. After suffering years of debilitating anxiety, she learned that victory over anxiety comes only through surrender to Jesus. You can read more about Valerie's story on Medium @VictoryThroughSurrender.

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