We read a verse in Sunday morning Bible study that I tucked away for one of my morning devotions. In Joshua 10, as Joshua and his men are in the middle of a battle when he told them, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous.” As we read this verse on Sunday morning I thought about the time when Moses handed Joshua the baton and God said, “It’s time for you to lead My people.” The leadership transition from Moses to Joshua happened in Joshua 1, just as the Hebrews were getting ready to cross the Jordan and head into the Promised Land.
In Joshua 1, on Joshua’s first day as the new leader of the Hebrews, you get the sense that the young man is anxious. He is overwhelmed. He’s questioning whether or not he can fill Moses’ sandals. After all, he was use to being a follower not a leader. I can relate, not because I’ve ever been given such a huge challenge, but because I’ve experienced those same emotions. God knew what was going on in Joshua’s heart and mind so He sought to encourage him.
In Joshua 1:6-9, the Lord tells Joshua to “be strong and courageous.” (vs. 6) He tells him to “be strong and very courageous.” (vs. 7) Finally, in verse 9, the Lord says, “Have not I 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.” (vs. 9) I’m sure Joshua was nodding his head in agreement, but was he truly “strong and courageous” at that moment? Did his sense of being overwhelmed suddenly vanish? Did his doubts disappear in an instant? I don’t think so.
Joshua believed God. He trusted that the Lord would be with him. He still questioned his own ability, but he didn’t let that stop him from moving forward, even if it was with his questions swirling in his head. By the time we get to Joshua 10 we hear Joshua encouraging his men with the exact words of encouragement that God had given him in times past. I can see see him standing tall and raising his voice: “Men, do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous.” Joshua was changed. He was transformed. The one who needed encouragement was now doing the encouraging! When did it happen? He probably didn’t know. He couldn’t put his finger on the day or the hour that the anxiety was replaced with strength and courage.
I’ve seen this same transformation happen in my life, in some areas. When I press on, even with my fears and insecurities, God works to change me. My questions slowly begin to fade and His strength, working in me, grows. My insecurities are sured up by His comforting voice that reminds me that He will never leave me or forsake me. As I look back at those areas where I’ve seen growth and change take place, I honestly don’t know when the change happened, but I know who brought about the change. I thank You Lord for your strength and courage. There are still so many areas of my life that God is working on, but knowing what He has done in the past, to strengthen me in those areas where I use to be weak and insecure gives me confidence that He’s not done working in me.
My prayer today, Lord, is that You will help me to grow strong and courageous in those areas of my life where I still struggle with questions, insecurities, and doubts. Take my eyes off of what I am missing and fix them on You, the One who provides all I will ever need.