No Excuses – We can be Strong and Courageous!
In the books of Deuteronomy and Joshua, Moses’s successor Joshua was told several times to be strong and courageous! Considering the challenging task that lay ahead of him – leading the Israelites into the promised land, it is no wonder that he had to be reminded to do so repeatedly!
Let’s look at a few verses in the Bible where Joshua was reminded to be strong and courageous.
Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (NIV)
Deuteronomy 31:8 ‘Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “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.”’ (NIV)
Deuteronomy 31:23 ‘The Lord gave this command to Joshua son of Nun: “Be strong and courageous, for you will bring the Israelites into the land I promised them on oath, and I myself will be with you.”’ (NIV)
Joshua 1:6 “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.” (NIV)
This final verse has an added emphasis (emphasis mine)…
Joshua 1:7 “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.” (NIV)
There are a few more verses in the book of Joshua where this phrase is used, as well as in other parts of the Bible. Clearly, it is important to God that we be strong and courageous when faced by steep hills, dark tunnels, and deep valleys. The question is, therefore, how do we become strong and courageous?
Acknowledge that God’s strength is greater than ours
Our strength is nothing compared to God’s strength. Think about it – he created the world as we know it with just one word! The verses below give more insight into how powerful God is…
Isaiah 40:21 “Who else has held the oceans in his hand? Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers? Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale?” (NLT)
Can you imagine weighing a mountain on a scale? I can barely picture myself weighing a small anthill!
In the book of Job, the Lord describes how he easily handles the Leviathan, a powerful and huge mythical creature.
Job 41:1-5 “Can you catch Leviathan with a hook or put a noose around its jaw? Can you tie it with a rope through the nose or pierce its jaw with a spike? Will it beg you for mercy or implore you for pity? Will it agree to work for you, to be your slave for life? Can you make it a pet like a bird, or give it to your little girls to play with?” (NLT)
Can you make such a huge creature into a pet, or make it beg for mercy? No, you can’t! Only God can do so because he is more powerful than we can ever imagine! Remember, he parted the Red Sea so that the Israelites could cross to the other side! Can we, therefore, really compare our strength to his? Not at all!
Ask God for His strength
Asking for God’s help when you need an urgent miracle is easy – asking for his strength isn’t. You know why? Because nobody wants to admit they are weak and struggling, especially to God. Many people believe that admitting they need God to step in and strengthen them is a sign of weakness. But guess what – it isn’t!
David, one of the bravest and strongest men in the Bible, realized that for him to be strengthened by the Lord, he needed to admit his weakness!
Psalm 86:1 “Bend down, O Lord, and hear my prayer; answer me, for I need your help.” (NLT)
Psalm 142:6 “Hear my cry, for I am very low. Rescue me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me.” (NLT)
In another Psalm, he says,
Psalm 31:24 “So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord!” (NLT)
What made David realize that if he put his trust in the Lord he would be strengthened? Wasn’t he a mighty warrior who had slain tens of thousands – a man revered by all the people around for his fighting prowess? Well, at that moment, he was not strong – he was weak, and he knew it. David, however, understood that if he asked the Lord for his help, and specifically, his strength, he would receive it in abundance. David also knew that the Lord always answered those who trusted in him, even those who the world considered to be strong and mighty!
Asking the Lord for his help is not a sign of weakness – it is a sign of strength. You have to be strong enough to have faith that he will answer you when you ask for his help, even though you have never seen him. You also have to be strong enough to admit your weakness to him, and strong enough to rely on someone outside of yourself to carry you through whatever you are facing.
Once we acknowledge that God’s strength is greater than ours, and that to get this strength all we need to do is ask for it, we will be strong and courageous, ready to face the world! And you know what – it doesn’t matter what people around you say. As soon as they realise where you get your strength from, they will ask to know more about the God you believe in, and with time, they will encourage you to seek out that strength more often!
In conclusion, let me share an interesting verse in Joshua where the people of Israel remind HIM to be strong and courageous!
Joshua 1:16-18 ‘They answered Joshua, “We will do whatever you command us, and we will go wherever you send us. We will obey you just as we obeyed Moses. And may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. Anyone who rebels against your orders and does not obey your words and everything you command will be put to death. So be strong and courageous!”’ (NLT)
Dear friends, do you now believe that you and I can be strong and courageous, with the Lord’s help? I would encourage you to ask the Lord for his help to handle whatever cloud, mountain, storm or valley you may be facing. He is right there beside you, waiting for you to ask! Be encouraged!