When I read the book of Joshua, 1 phrase always stands out, “Be strong and courageous“. Most people know Joshua for the “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” in the last chapter which is bad grammar, but a great leadership principle that leaders go first.
In the 1st chapter of Joshua, 2 times it says, “Be strong and courageous“. If that’s not enough, there’s even a “Be very strong and courageous” thrown in for extra measure.
Reading through the Bible this year led me through the book of Joshua with a different perspective than before on “be strong and courageous.” I was curious how many times that phrase shows up in the Bible. For the NIV 1984, the answer is 10 times. Moses to Joshua, God to Joshua, and the people to Joshua are some of its initial uses.
When I used to read these words, I thought. Did Joshua have some fear issues? Was he a timid leader? And some would suggest from these words that the answer is yes.
But think about who Joshua is. Was he really General Chicken leading the fighting bawk bawks into battle? Isn’t he one of the 12 spies who had the courage to go into the promise land? 10 say no, and he and Caleb say go with God.
For 40 years he mentors under Moses. He sees what leadership is in following God’s guidance and plan. Joshua is not a timid leader, but a trained one … a terrific one.
That led to the discovery this time through Joshua to my favorite “Be strong and courageous” reference. Joshua 10:25a, “Joshua said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous.’“ The words Joshua has heard. The work he has seen God do in his life and in his leadership, he now passes on to those he leads. He says to them the words that have become part of his leadership, “Be strong and courageous.”
What if “Be strong and courageous” is not an issue of fear, but an affirmation of faith? What if “be strong and courageous” is a call to bring out God’s best in people?
Be strong and courageous is not about being foolish.
Be strong and courageous is not about having your A game on.
Be strong and courageous is about bringing out God’s best in people.
Be strong and courageous not for the strength you can muster, but for the strength the risen Savior gives.
Be strong and courageous when you identify with the pain of Jesus’ cry, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me.”
Be strong and courageous when you identify with the victory of Jesus’ cry, “It is finished.”
Be strong and courageous not because you are full of yourself, but because you are filled with the Spirit.
Be strong and courageous because our world needs to raise up Christ followers who are strong and courageous.
And as my favorite quote for the book of Esther goes, “Who knows perhaps you have been raised for such a time as this?” And that’s a rhetorical question expecting a yes answer. In case today leaves you wondering, the answer is you have been raised for such a time as this and so today bring out God’s best in yourself and others, be strong and courageous.