– Joshua 1:9
When Joshua and the Israelites faced the uncertainty of the enemies just across the border of the Jordan River, they were probably not feeling very strong. If you consider the size of the opposing enemy compared to that of Israel, it would appear to be no contest. But when God is on your side, nothing else matters, as this theme of being confident in God is found throughout the Scripture, as in 2 Chronicles 15:7: “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded” because God say “I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
The opposite of courage is probably cowardice or fear. When we are faced with seemingly insurmountable odds, God wants us to have courage, for He is with us at all times, as the Lord tells you just what He told Joshua: “Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you” (Joshua 10:8). God is never caught by surprise, even when we are.
Don’t Be Frightened
In the Book of Joshua and the Book of Deuteronomy, there are several admonitions to not be afraid because the tendency for Israel was to live in fear of the enemy. So time after time God would remind them that “the LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deut. 31:8). If you are fearful, then you’ll likely also be discouraged, and being afraid (frightened) makes us think that God’s going to forsake us or leave us, which He promises never to do (Heb. 13:5).
Don’t Be Dismayed
The definition of “dismayed” is to have a complete breakdown of courage and to be disheartened thoroughly. It might mean being in a constant state of worry, experiencing disappointment, living in fear, or being in shock from overwhelming problems. It’s as if Joshua is speaking to us today when he wrote long ago that God said, “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5). If you really understood that God was with you, would you still be dismayed by life’s problems? Probably not.
God doesn’t want us to cower in fear or uncertainty. In fact, He commands us to “be strong and courageous” and “do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed.” I believe that if you read the Book of Joshua, you will be encouraged, strengthened, bold, and unmoved by whatever life throws your way, for if God is for you, who could ever possibly be against you (Rom. 8:31)?