"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7
What Does it Mean to Be Strong and Courageous in Deuteronomy 31?
-Excerpted from How Can Christians Be Strong and Courageous? by Meg Bucher on Crosswalk.com
After Moses addressed the people of Israel, he turned his attention specifically to Joshua:
“Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the LORD swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. 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.”
We all need mentors in the faith to encourage us. “What God has made our duty,” Matthew Henry explains, “we have reason to expect opportunity and assistance from him for the doing of.” Those who have gone before us can take the weight we bear off of our shoulders and speak peace and truth into our lives. God speaks through many, just as he did Moses to Joshua, to equip and cheer us on in our mission for the gospel.
“Joshua was to be strong and courageous as he led the people,” Dr. James Emery White explains, “He was to be strong and courageous in obeying God’s word. And finally, in Joshua 1:9, he was to be strong and courageous in terms of endurance.” This was a big moment for Joshua. One where he likely felt the nervous angst that rises up in the human gut when we are charged with something big and the time comes to execute the task at hand. “While they had the power of God engaged for them,” Matthew Henry explained in his commentary, “they had no reason to fear all the powers of Canaan engaged against them.” We give pep talks to our kids before big events, and we pump up our teammates before a game or a meet. Encouragement comes from the very heart of God. Selfless, loving, and truthful encouragement.
Strong, translated from the original Hebrew, means to strengthen, prevail, harden, be strong, become strong, be courageous, be firm, grow firm, be resolute. Courageous, to be strong, alert, courageous, brave, stout, bold, solid, hard. “By trusting in the Lord and obeying him, his followers would be victorious in spite of great obstacles,” the NIV Study Bible explains. Hebrews 13:5 reminds us to apply the Old Testament Scriptures to our new covenant lives:
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’”
The author of Hebrews quoted Deuteronomy 31:6, emphasizing God’s faithfulness to provide for His people, both spiritually and physically. He is our Provider. “They were called to face their fears because it would train them to put their trust in the right Hope,”
“I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go,” God spoke to Jacob in his dream, recorded in Genesis 28, “and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (v15) The reason Joshua, and we, do not have to fear, has everything to do with who God is. “When Jacob awoke from his sleep,” Genesis 28:16 reads, “he thought, ‘Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.’” He is near. Our sovereign, omnipotent God, Creator of the Universe and Author of our steps, is with us.
For Joshua in the Old Testament, knowing God rooted his confident steps. For New Testament believers, we know God is in us, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in every believer in Jesus Christ. Strength and courage flowed through Joshua as He obeyed the Lord via the laws God left with Moses. The Bible records God urging him not to stray from His laws and commands. God’s boundaries and commandments are the guardrails that keep us from careening over the steep side of a mountain on account of black ice. Jesus says in the New Testament when we abide in Him and His Word abides in us, we can ask anything. Jesus is the Living Word of God. Strength and courage flow through a life lived within the love of Christ.
Read the article in full here.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/thekopmylife
Originally published Monday, 06 January 2020.