Be Strong and Courageous
What a joyful and festive time of the year it is! Slowly, but surely, the temperature is rising. Lawns are being transformed from dingy brown to vibrant green. The first shoots of the new year are springing up in gardens and fields. It is also at this time of year when we celebrate confirmations, graduations, and other big changes. It amazes me how another school year has flown by with summer knocking on the door.
But with all the change can also come apprehension and nervousness. What will my future hold? What adventures or difficulties lie ahead? What does the Lord have in store for me?
These same questions must have unnerved Joshua. Moses, the respected and gray haired leader of Israel for 40 years had just died. Now the responsibility and burden of leading the entire nation must have weighed on Joshua like a bag full of rocks. How was he to fill such big shoes? How was he to guide God’s people as they crossed into the Promised Land? How was he going to be a faithful and successful leader like Moses?
But the Lord knew his fears, he understood his concern. So he lifted the burden from Joshua’s shoulders and pointed him back to the source of real strength and comfort.
The Lord said to Joshua, “7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:7-9)
No matter if you are staring change and uncertainty in the face right now or continue down that oft traveled road of life, the Lord also lifts your eyes to the source of real strength, the source of lasting comfort: his Word of promise to you.
You can be strong and courageous each day of your life because of what your God has already done for you. The very God who defeated all of Joshua’s enemies has already crushed your worst enemy, Satan, on Calvary’s cross. The very God who promised a glorious inheritance to the Israelites and then estasblished them in a land "flowing with milk and honey" has prepared an even better inheritance for you in heaven. The very God who strengthened Joshua with his powerful Word will also strengthen you through that same Word. The very God who never left Joshua’s side will also be with you wherever you go.
So be in that Word of your God. Meditate on his message to you, day and night. Listen to his words of love for you. Love that moved him to sacrifice his Son to save you. Love that will never abandon or forsake you. Love that energizes you to live to his glory and praise.
As you journey through this life facing all the challenges, uncertainties, and troubles, be strong and courageous because your all-powerful and loving God goes with you. And one day he will carry you through the doorway of death into your eternal inheritance, into your heavenly home.
In Christ Alone,
Pastor Jeff Sonntag