Hidden Nuggets Series #94 – “Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.” – Joshua 1:6
As Joshua stood on the doorsteps of Canaan he must have felt a tremendous sense of dread looking into the land. His mentor Moses had died and now he had been given the responsibility of escorting a nation into its new home. Millions of people were counting on him as their next leader.
No more following orders.
No more on the job training.
Joshua, you are now the man.
I doubt you or could really appreciate what Joshua was going through. He’s following an iconic leader, a man – no check that – a prophet for which the Bible says none had arisen like him – a person whom the Lord had known face to face (Deut. 34:10).
Moses’ leadership abilities were superb…his strength in adversity unique…his humility, patience and perseverance unmatched.
To follow that must have been intimidating. Even though he’d been tutored as Moses’ right hand man, Joshua must have felt like the coach who is instilled as the new leader after the iconic master who has been at a program for decades steps down. Surely Joshua thought he’d fail because he couldn’t live up to the standards of his predecessor or the expectations of the masses.
How could he move forward with such a great task?
By relying on the only thing that can defeat fear – courage.
Courage Is the “It Factor”
“What have they got that I ain’t got? Courage.” – Cowardly Lion, The Wizard of Oz
The Cowardly Lion didn’t have it and it would seem Joshua didn’t either. Three times in Joshua chapter 1 God told him “…be strong and of good courage.” It must have been obvious that Joshua was lacking in fortitude.
It’s one thing to say, “Have courage.” It’s quite another to act on it. Fear is so overwhelming it can easily swallow up any bravery we might muster.
But we must have it. Courage is the “It Factor” that moves us forward in life. If we allow our fears to overwhelm us we will remain stuck in place, never realizing the hopes, dreams and rewards of what’s out there.
What’s interesting here is that Joshua even lacked courage when he had been promised a positive outcome. God told him…
“Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you as I said to Moses…No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life…for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land…” (Josh. 1:3,5,6)
Note the absolutes here – “every” (place), “will” (tread), “no” (man), and “shall” (divide).
God couldn’t have been more forthright about what was to come. Joshua would have success. And yet there’s still fear. Which tells me fear is a natural emotion that can arise to any circumstance of life, whether or not we know the future outcome.
Courage therefore must be ever present to knock fear down.
I don’t know what source you will rely on to be courageous. I guess it could be different for everyone. Joshua’s courage rested in the presence of God, who reassured him at the end of the monologue to not be afraid because “…the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”(Josh. 1:9)
If the abiding presence of God is good enough for Joshua then it’s good enough for me.
Have courage…your future awaits.
Questions: How do you summon the courage to face the daily trials of life? Have you ever taken over for another leader? What fears did you face? Do you even have fear when you are pretty sure what the outcome of a situation will be? What’s the thing you are afraid of most?