No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good successt wherever you go.8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:5-9 ESV)
This is such a famous passage as it has such universal appeal, “be strong and courageous!” But the context is so important, and the lesson associated with the command. Joshua has just taken over Moses’ role as leader of Israel. He is about to take them to conquer the nations that they once ran in fear of. God has told him in this passage all that he (both God and Joshua) will do. It is in light of this the command to be strong and courageous comes. It is in light of this that Joshua is all the more instructed to meditate on the law of God day and night. God is saying, “this will, with certainty, happen” and then saying, “but it will happen only through your obedience and diligent attention to My Word.” God’s will is certain but that is not a fate that comes with our passivity, as though nothing we do will matter to that outcome. God’s will will happen but only through the means of our obedience. That is a mystery as it embraces both the sovereignty of God AND the responsibility of man without contradiction.
Back to Joshua’s charge, “be strong and courageous!” This is also the charge of all those committed to the great commission, the ushering in of God’s Kingdom, the building of the Church. Hear the words and be strengthened by them.
Chronological Reading Plan plus Psalms: Josh 1:1-4, Ps 82