– Woodrow Kroll
After Moses had died, God placed Joshua as the next leader. He had already proven himself by his obedience and courage, but that was a bit easier being behind Moses, but now the earthly leadership fell to him. That was a great responsibility, so God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:7), for “Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you” (Joshua 1:5). That would make it easier to be strong, right?
God also tells Joshua, “Only be strong and very courageous” (Joshua 1:7a). It’s okay to be courageous but we must also be strong in Christ, however if we’re only strong but not courageous, then we’re not much use to God. Courage is not the absence of fear, but acting despite the fear. Courage doesn’t allow fear to paralyze us and keep us from doing what God’s called us to do.
If we say we love God but don’t obey God, can we be speaking the truth? Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). A child frequently wants to please their parents because they love them. Is our motivation like that of a child? Do we seek to obey God because we love Him so much? He doesn’t love us because we’re obedient, but He is well pleased when we obey, therefore we ought to show our love for Him by being obedient to Him.
God is trying to bless Joshua and Israel, but only if they are “strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go” (Joshua 1:7). It is important that we be “careful 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” (Joshua 1:8).
Whatever mountain you’re facing right now, God tells you (and me) to be strong, be courageous, be obedient, and then you’ll be blessed so “that you may have good success wherever you go” (Joshua 1:7), so “Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9b), and if you can’t go through it, He’ll take you over it or around it. Either way, He is always with you and will never forsake you (Heb 13:5).