“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Joshua 1:6, ESV
If you were to be chosen as the one who would succeed a legend of a man who could part seas, cause it to rain bread and smash rocks with a stick to lead millions of people through a land filled with giants and fortified cities and conquer them all, what would you need most?
One of the biggest misconceptions about Joshua and his success was that military genius won over Canaan for Israel. Then you take a look at all of their military strategies and think otherwise. They had worship leaders as a front-line, they would fight outnumbered many times, they would charge walls and forts with shouting and singing. Joshua has to be the most terrible war general the world will ever know.
But in all of that, Joshua had received something that would radically win him every battle and every war: Courage. Three times in Joshua chapter 1, the Lord tells him to “be strong and courageous” (ESV, verses 6,7 and 9). One has to wonder, however, where such courage would come from. It certainly wasn’t from their size, their training or their strategies. The Israelites were ex-slaves who knew only how to make bricks and build pyramids.
Joshua’s confidence had to come purely and solely from God’s anointing. The same way David found imputed courage to face a nine-foot giant with five smooth stones and the same way Gideon did with three hundred torch bearers up to face an army of tens of thousands. Often God puts us in a situation where we cannot trust in strategy, numbers or human strength so that we have no choice but to take up courage from His character and promise.
In your life today, God has most likely called—and if not, He will surely call—you into a purpose that seems impossible to conquer on your own. What’s worse is He probably will not equip you the way you think you should be equipped. That’s God’s formula for great courage—a terribly intimidating mountain and no reason to be confident in the flesh.
But in all that, God asks us then to look to Him for courage. Today, we can look to Jesus Christ for courage when we are reminded, just as Joshua was, that we have a God who never leaves us or forsakes us. He is called Emmanuel, meaning God with us. 1 John 4:18a says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (ESV).
Because we are sure that God is all powerful and that He also loves us immensely, He will give us both courage and victory. We don’t need to look anywhere else for courage—not our money, our skills, our background or even our faithfulness. God is faithful at all times and there is nothing and no one whom we can be more confident in than Christ.