“Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the LORD.” ~Psalm 31:24
The message one recent Sunday morning was about the faith of two characters from Hebrews chapter 11. My first example was Joshua. In order to provide the proper context of the message dealing with the faith of Joshua, I took the people back to Joshua chapter 1. If you are familiar with the passage, you know the clarion call of God was for him to be courageous in the face of his difficult assignment.
Because Joshua was Moses’ war-fighting general, this may seem a bit odd for the LORD to make such a statement. He had fought many battles as the nation of Israel moved across the Sinai Peninsula and wandered in the wilderness those forty years. (When there is a large nation the size of Israel moving around the area, it tends to unnerve the locals!)
Still in all, Joshua was a battle-hardened and tactically astute leader. But, in this instance, when he was about to transition from being a military leader to taking on the mantle of a civil leader, as well, the task must have seemed monumental. Not only did he have to be concerned about the enemies of Israel, but he also had to deal with demands of being a head of state. If you’ve done any studying in the Old Testament, you know the historical character of the Israelites and their penchant for being onerous and rebellious. [I can tell you from personal experience, military operations and personal preferences seldom intersect!]
He received the simplest mission statement a general could have: conduct a river crossing and secure the Promised Land. It would not be an easy task for him, in light of all that had to be done. Yet, in all of this, he had the strength of character (and the faith) to see this mission through and the courage it took to finish the task he had been assigned.
Our focus of that Sunday’s message was not about his courage or character; it was about his faith in light of his willingness to allow God to direct the tactical operations. [‘Are you kidding me? March around the walls of Jericho without saying a word, and the walls will fall down?’] But God said, “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
I think this is good advice for you and me, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds and circumstances. Courage is developed in the crucible of life, aided by those who help us and develop us along the way. Ultimately, then, courage is the product of who we are at our very core and where we place our faith. Joshua was such a man. God just decided it was time to “step it up a notch.” Are you ready?
Pastor John Roberts
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Heather says: It’s not always easy when we don’t understand God’s plan, but His command is to be strong and courageous for He is with us. Click here and here for beautiful reminders for your home or office. Be reminded daily with this adorable mug. Wear this reminder on your wrist, or you can find your own favorites on Amazon.com.
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Please welcome our Sunday morning contributing writer, Pastor John Roberts. John is the pastor of New Hope Fellowship in the great Northwest where he resides with his wife of 46 years.