Be Strong and Courageous

Since first entering recovery over 20 years ago, I have prayed the Serenity Prayer countless times. Tonight I was in a room filled with a couple hundred men who recited the words of this precious prayer in near unison. They knew it well.

God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can and the Wisdom to know the difference.

The Serenity Prayer

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Scripture tells us that in this life we will have trouble. It reminds us that we all fall short of the glory of God and that the world we live in is filled with trials, temptations, and tribulations. We can get so overwhelmed by our circumstances and current situation that we forget that there is a God who loves us and who is with us wherever we go.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

In Joshua, Chapter 1, while the people were grieving the loss of their prophet and nation’s leader,  I am sure Joshua was mourning the loss of his friend and mentor as well. In the midst of this tumultuous change, God calls Joshua forth to lead the Lord’s people into the Promised Land. God rewinds the tape, so to speak, and reminds Joshua of His faithfulness. The Lord promises that He will never leave nor forsake Joshua or His people.

In light of the troubles and the unknown he faced, the Lord told Joshua not to be afraid nor be discouraged. God commanded Joshua to be strong and courageous, for God is faithful, and wherever Joshua goes, God will be there with him.

You will recall from your Bible study that after God used Moses to deliver His people from Egypt, they wandered around the wilderness aimlessly without purpose for 40 years. The entire generation of men who left Egypt during the Exodus would die in the desert, except Joshua and Caleb who did not slander the land by disobeying God. Joshua, a fervent warrior and man of prayer, followed God in faithful obedience, time and time again.

When we walk in faithful obedience to what God calls us to do and where the Lord tells us to go, good things follow. Scripture repeatedly demonstrates to us that blessings flow from faithfulness. While it may not seem easy to be faithful or remain faithful, God instructs us to be strong and courageous for He will be with us wherever we go.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:6 (NIV).

Through a relationship with Jesus Christ, you and I can know what it’s like to have God be with us wherever we go. While our situation or our circumstances may seem insurmountable to us, God is faithful. He has not left us nor forsaken us. For God, Scripture proclaims, nothing is impossible. Just as God provided entrance into the Promised Land for the Israelites through their new leader Joshua, the Lord offers the Way into Heaven for you and I through the precious shed blood of His son, Jesus Christ. The work is done. All that remains for us to do is repent and believe in the atoning work of the Son on that Cross at Calvary over 2,000 years ago.

The center of God’s will is the safest place to be in the entire Universe.

Be strong and be courageous.

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4 responses to “Be Strong and Courageous

  1. In English, we pronounce the Hebrew form of the name JOSHUA. In English we pronounce the Greek form of the name JESUS. But in Hebrew, they are the same.

    We might say that Jesus was named after this great hero of the faith. Parents do that kind of thing from time to time, and it doesn’t have to be a matter of faith. In the South, for a 150 years and more after the Civil War, parents name their sons Lee as a way of remembering and commemorating the great General Lee. So, this is a common idea, and it applies to Jesus of Naz too.

    However, we might also very biblically make the case that the first Joshua was named by God as a foreshadow of the one to come much later! After all, it was God who told that young virgin Mary to give him the name Joshua.

    Either way, Joshua was what she called him. Well, she used the Hebrew/Aramaic pronunciation, but this is still the fact. She called him JOSHUA… “God SAVES”.

    The connection runs deep… even deeper than we know.

    And God tells the first Joshua to be strong and courageous. And he is. And he goes out into a bloodbath and fights for his God and his people and saves them from overwhelming odds.

    But his strength and courage pale in comparison to the second JOSHUA who also is strong and courageous and who goes out to fight for his God and his people in the bloodbath of battle.

    And his mom, who watched it, called him JOSHUA.

    Liked by 1 person

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