Be Strong and Courageous

Joshua 1

After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' assistant, “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. 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.”

And Joshua commanded the officers of the people, “Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, ‘Prepare your provisions, for within three days you are to pass over this Jordan to go in to take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.’”

And to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh Joshua said,“Remember the word that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, ‘The Lord your God is providing you a place of rest and will give you this land.’Your wives, your little ones, and your livestock shall remain in the land that Moses gave you beyond the Jordan, but all the men of valor among you shall pass over armed before your brothers and shall help them, until the Lord gives rest to your brothers as he has to you, and they also take possession of the land that the Lordyour God is giving them. Then you shall return to the land of your possession and shall possess it, the land that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise.”

And they answered Joshua, “All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you, as he was with Moses!Whoever rebels against your commandment and disobeys your words, whatever you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and courageous.”

As you read this chapter, count how many times God says “be strong and courageous.” The book of Joshua tells of a substantial evolution in the story of God’s people. Israel stands poised to enter into something new and unknown. In three days, they will cross the Jordan and everything will be different. Moses has died and resistance awaits them before they can finally rest in the land God has promised them. The frequency of God’s encouragement to the people is a strong indicator of the overwhelming concern in their hearts. God knows exactly what we need and eagerly provides for His children in times of trial.

That provision can look different for each one of us. Some find comfort as they focus on visions of flowing milk and honey at the end of the journey. Others find immediate relief in an instant, through a prayer, scripture, or a song. We will seek and find the relief we need when we seek Him with our whole hearts (Jeremiah 29:13). Like Israel, we are entering into the unknown. Never have we experienced this degree of collective uncertainty, yet we can be assured that through it all God will never leave nor forsake us!

Faith and fear are in constant tension, unable to occupy the same space in our hearts. In times of uncertainty, fear presses in on every side and threatens our faith in the God who promises to see us through. Even if we reclaim faith for a moment, fear and doubt can easily slither back into our hearts. God knows of our propensity for back-sliding and provides us continual assurances if we seek them in Scripture and prayer. Continuous courage requires continuous effort. As we lean on the Father with complete abandon, He sings this chorus over us: “be strong and courageous!”


  1. What role should God’s word play when we are weak and afraid (vv. 8-9)?
  2. According to this passage, what is the relationship between obedience and courage?
  3. In what area of your life is God calling you to be strong and courageous?
  4. How might you inspire strength and courage in another today?


Lord, help me to find courage and live with boldness. Guide me to inspire courage and hope in others. I pray these things in the name of Jesus and by the power of His Holy Spirit, Amen.

Zac Holt, March 23, 2020
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Laura Kelly - March 23rd, 2020 at 5:45pm

Thank you for doing this. I look forward to reading a devotion each day!

Jenny Copenhaver - March 24th, 2020 at 10:45pm

So uplifting and reassuring in this time we are experiencing this awful virus in our country and the world! Thank you!