“Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.” (Joshua 1:6)
This admonition to be strong and of “good courage” (Hebrew amass) is given some ten times in the Old Testament, plus another nine times using a different word (chasaq). The first occurrence of amass is in Deuteronomy 3:28, where it is translated “strengthen”: “But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see.”
Christians today surely need good courage to face a dangerous world with all its temptations and intimidations, but nothing today could compare to the challenge facing Joshua. Trying to lead a nondescript multitude of “stiff-necked” desert nomads into a land of giants and walled cities would surely require courage beyond anything we could imagine today.
But Joshua had access to invincible resources, and so do we. “Be strong and of a good courage,” God told him. “Be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:9).
Giants and walled cities are no match for the children of God when He goes with them, for “if God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
God did go with Joshua, and the Israelites defeated the giants, destroyed the walled cities, and took the land. And we have the same promise today, for “he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:5-6). Courage is really another name for faith, and “what he had promised, he was able also to perform” (Romans 4:21). HMM
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