“Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
The Lord spoke those words directly to Joshua, Moses’ successor to lead Israel. Joshua was an accomplished military leader who had been mentored by Moses for many years. He’d seen God do miracles in Egypt, part the Red Sea and deliver manna daily to Israel for years. His confidence in God had to be high. And shortly after hearing those words he led Israel across the river Jordan, (miraculously parted like the Red Sea) and conquered Jericho without raising a weapon. The dude was definitely on a roll! Then came Ai. Ai was a small town that Joshua decided to take after reducing Jericho to rubble.
Be strong and courageous, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go…
I wonder if those words came to mind when the soldiers sent to conquer Ai came streaming back into camp dirty, tired and beaten? Beaten?! Beaten. Imagine the next conversation Joshua had with God… “But, Lord, didn’t you say…”
It’s easy to assume that because God is so gracious and loving and lavishes His people with blessings upon blessings that somehow we deserve it, that life will be easy and whatever we do should be successful. But if that was true, why would Joshua need to be strong? Why would he need courage? The truth is that although God promises all kinds of blessings for His people, He also promises that life will be hard. Trials and tribulations will abound for us all, and we, like Joshua will need to remember that strength and courage are required.
Be strong and courageous, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.