Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. 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 success wherever you go. – Joshua 1:6-7
Israel is finally ready to enter the land that was promised to Abraham. The generation that did not trust God in the Book of Numbers has died, and Joshua is now ready to lead the Nation. Israel is about to cross over the Jordan River and face many enemies that are in the land God is giving them. God in Chapter One will encourage Joshua and give some important instructions.
Three times in Chapter One God tells Joshua to be “strong and courageous” (1:6,7,9). Israel is about to face many battles as they clear the land of the godless nations. But God wants Joshua to be strong and courageous in the battles they will face. God will give the land to Israel; He will fight their battles. God wants the Nation to trust Him and it starts with Joshua as their leader. Joshua was one of the spies, along with Caleb, in Numbers 13 who said they should go and take the land. Yet, the people did not trust God. God now wants Joshua to lead the people with humility, looking to God for their strength. God also instructs them to keep the Law of Moses and not depart from its teachings. If they follow the teachings within the Law it will go well for them, but if they depart from it, struggles and hardships will come upon them.
For us today this chapter teaches some great principles to live out in our lives. We are most likely not about to head into an actual battle, but we can apply these teachings to our lives as well. Israel knew the outcome; God was going before them in battle and would give them victory. We know that the battle is already won – sin has been defeated, and we know that when Christ comes back the battle with evil will come to an end. We should be strong and courageous knowing that anything this world throws at us finds defeat in Christ. Now that does not mean that things always go well. Remember, Israel will lose their first battle against Ai. We are not guaranteed the easy, struggle-free life. The second part of the instruction is to remember God’s Word. They only had the first five books; we have much more revelation now. I know my day is just different when I have been in God’s Word. It aligns me to where God wants me to be. He wants us thinking and meditating on His Word daily. God wants His people to trust Him. We read His Word and we learn to trust Him more and more. He is there, He has not left. God wants us to be strong, courageous, and in His Word, so that we can put our trust in Him in the good times and in the bad times.