February 11

The Courage of Obedience: Joshua, Part Two 

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

As Joshua began to encourage himself in the Lord, he must have been quick to remember His faithfulness up until then. God had brought the children of Israel out of Egypt, He’d given them Moses for a leader, He’d led them through the Red Sea, He’d provided manna in the wilderness and water from the rock. Plus He’d gained a victory for them over the Amalekites.

Reminding ourselves of how faithful God has been to us up until now is one way to stir our hearts to faith today. For Joshua, it was a good start. When he reviewed the challenges, the obstacles, the seeming impossibilities—he saw that the battle was always the Lord’s. He also saw how the victories were all by His hand.

This led Joshua to a greater level of faith in following God’s command to take courage. God wasn’t giving a pep talk, or trying to make Joshua feel better about his new challenges. He was giving him an order: Be strong and of good courage. The courage Joshua needed, and that he was able to receive by believing that the Lord was with him, was the courage to obey the next commands of the Lord.

For Joshua, those next commands involved taking the Promised Land. That demanded a great deal of courage for battles within and without. For us, we need courage for other things: being faithful to a call or a marriage covenant, reaching out to that one person, starting a new godly habit, facing a trial with grace. But our first command from the Lord is to take courage because He is with us. That’s our starting point for obedience. Everything else is possible because of His presence.

Prayer: Father, I take courage today because You are with me, and because you are for me. Whatever else I face today for which I need courage, help me remember that I first take courage because you are with me.