As Moses neared the end of his life, he told the children of Israel, “Be strong and of good courage, because God is with you.” Then he said the same thing to Joshua, who would be his successor as the leader of God’s people. “Be strong and of good courage, because God is with you.”
When God spoke to Joshua after Moses’ death, the Almighty repeated the same thought three times to his new mouthpiece: “Be strong and of good courage.” God made a promise to Joshua and to the children of Israel, that if they were strong and courageous, He would take care of them and they would prosper.
Certainly, it took a great deal of strength and courage to accomplish what the Lord commanded, but knowing that God was on their side, Israel took possession of the land that was promised to them. At the end of his life, Joshua again encouraged the people to continue with these attitudes of strength and courage in the Lord.
Sadly, Israel turned from God several times. Throughout the book of Judges we read of several occasions that the people disobeyed God and needed to be restored. God would raise up a leader to bring them back, and they would be faithful for a while before failing away again. The cycle repeats over and over, not only in the book of Judges, but throughout the Old Testament.
This still happens today in the church. There are some people that will disappear for weeks or months, then will come back for a little while, then leave again. What can we do when we notice this happening? Have you called your missing brethren to encourage them to return? Have you asked what you can do to help them? Sometimes, showing that you are concerned is encouragement in itself.
We must develop strength and courage in order to lead others to Christ, and to bring others back to God. The words that were spoken to Joshua still apply to us today: “Be strong and of good courage.”
As Christians, where do we find our strength? The apostle Paul says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Peter writes, “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you” (1 Peter 5:10). Our strength comes not from ourselves, but from God the Father and Christ Jesus.
And what of the courage? It is in Christ that “we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him” (Ephesians 3:12). Just as He promised to be with the children of Israel in their battles against the nations around them, He will be with us as well. That knowledge should motivate us not only be courageous, but content with our portion in life as well. “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).
Are you strong and of good courage?