Joshua 1:6 ESV
“Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.”
After the death of Moses, God chose Joshua to lead God’s people of that time into the Promised Land. So, these were God’s specific directions to Joshua, and not specifically to us, per se, yet we can learn from these lessons what we can apply to our lives based on what the New Testament also teaches. For a lot of what is taught to God’s people in the Old Testament is repeated for us in the New Testament in some form or other.
Now the Lord instructed Paul to “take courage” at a time when he was being persecuted, and other times Paul took courage, and another time he was of good courage. And we are instructed all throughout the Old and the New Testaments to not fear, to not worry, to not fret, and to not be afraid, other than we are to have a reverent fear (awe, respect, honor) of God.
[Courage: Ac 23:11; Ac 28:15; 2 Co 5:6-8; Php 1:20; Fear: Matt 6:25-34; Matt 10:26-31; Matt 17:7; Mk 5:36; Lu 1:74; Lu 2:10; Lu 8:50; Lu 12:4-7,32; Rom 8:15; Php 1:14; 2 Tim 1:7; 1 Pet 3:14; 1 Jn 4:18; Rev 2:10]
So, whatever God has called us to do, we are to be strong in the Lord and in his mighty strength, and we are to be of good courage, trusting the Lord that he is in control over all things and that he will give us all that we need to live through whatever he allows us to go through in this life. And we are not to be afraid of other humans and to fear what they may do to us. But we are to get our strength and our courage from the Lord to keep going.
Now God has called all of us who believe in Jesus to be his witnesses, and to share his gospel, and to make disciples of Christ of people from all over the world, and to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth, and to proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness (sin) into his wonderful light (truth, righteousness, the gospel, deliverance from sin). And he has called us to encourage one another within the body of Christ.
[1 Pet. 2:9; 1 Pet. 2:21; Matt. 5:13-16; Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Acts 26:18; Rom. 10:14-15; Jn. 4:31-38; Jn. 13:13-17; Jn. 14:12; 1 Jn. 2:6; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Col 3:16; Heb 3:13]
And in order to do what God has called us to do we have to be of good courage, and we must not be afraid, for where God has called us he will supply all we need, and he will give us strength and courage, and he will help us to overcome our fears, and he will empower us to do and to say things we never imagined we would ever be able to do or to say. And that is because it is not us doing it but God doing it through us who are surrendered to him and who are following him in obedience to his ways.
Now, we are not called, most likely, though some people may be, to lead a group of people to a physical piece of land that God promised them. But we are called to lead people to inherit the kingdom of heaven via genuine God-given faith in Jesus Christ. And that involves them dying with Christ to sin, not just once, but daily, and that involves them walking in obedience to the Lord, in practice, and in conduct. And so we need to be courageous enough to tell them the truth that will set them free from their slavery to sin.
Also, if we are going to lead other people to inherit the kingdom of heaven, we need to make certain that we are telling them the truth and not a human-manufactured gospel message created to appease human flesh. We need to tell them that they must die to their sins and live to God and to his righteousness. For this Jesus died on that cross. And it takes courage to tell people the truth, for not many want to hear it, and many oppose it.
[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Eph 4:17-32; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 10:26-27; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 3:5-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Joshua 1:7-9 ESV
“Only be 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. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may 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. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Now, if we are going to lead other people to inherit the kingdom of heaven then we need to be walking the walk and not just talking it. We need to be living what we are teaching others to do. We need to be putting the word of God into daily practice in our lives. And obeying the Lord’s commandments is not just Old Covenant, but it is New Covenant, as well, only we don’t have to obey all those Old Covenant liturgical, ceremonial, sacrificial, purification, and dietary laws and restrictions. We have to obey New Covenant teaching.
And if you take the time, if you have the time, to look up all the noted Scriptures in this writing, you will see some of those instructions given to us who believe in Jesus that we are to obey. So, we are to be careful that we obey the Lord in doing the things that his word teaches us that we must do, in order to be one of his followers. For if we don’t obey our Lord, and if we continue in deliberate and habitual sin, we will not inherit eternal life.
So, we are not to turn to the right or to the left with regard to our Lord’s commands, but we are to do what he says we are to do. And we are to follow him in his ways, and we are to feed on the word of God, applying it to our daily lives, and not just use it for intellectual conversation or debate. And we should be sharing the Scriptures with other people wherever possible, for the truth of God’s word is their only hope of salvation from sin.
But when you do, be prepared to be opposed, to be hated, to be rejected, to be ignored, to be falsely accused and called all sorts of names, and to have people think evil of you and to walk out of your life. And this is why we need to be strong and courageous, and why we are being warned to not be frightened or dismayed, for if we are following the Lord, he is with us wherever we go, and he will give us all we need to do his will.
He’s Been Faithful
By Carol Cymbala
In my own suffering
Through every pain every tear
There’s a God who’s been faithful to me
When my strength was all gone
When my heart had no song
Still in love He’s proved faithful to me
Every word He’s promised is true
What I thought was impossible
I’ve seen my God do
He’s been faithful
Faithful to me
Looking back His love and mercy I see
Though in my heart I have questioned
Even failed to believe
He’s been faithful, faithful to me
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