Be Strong & Courageous Joshua 1:6-9

God's Kingdom Mission  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations 880 Epigram on Courage

880 Epigram On Courage

• Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the mastery of it.

• Said William Penn: “Right is right, even if everyone is against it, and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it.”

• Oh, do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks.

See also: Dedication; Fear; Matt. 10:28; Heb. 10:35.

Throughout the day today, I will contend that:
The command to be strong and courageous is an inner strength for those in relationship with God.
It is a strength that is lived out by mediating on, believing in, and obeying the word of God.
It is a strength that comes from God’s presence alone.
Strength and courage are certainly something that need to be defined today, and something that we really need.
10,000 Sermon Illustrations Courage of their Convictions

Courage of their Convictions

I am tired of hearing about men with the “courage of their convictions.” Nero and Caligula and Attila and Hitler had the courage of their convictions—but not one had the courage to examine his convictions, or to change them, which is the true test of character.

Sydney Harris in Bits and Pieces, Oct. 1991

What is he saying?
Joshua has been placed in a position of leading God’s nation of Israel. The nation is currently located on the east side of the Jordan River, but soon they would pass over the Jordan River and enter into the land that the LORD has promised over 430 years earlier to Abraham the father of the Jewish people. Moses, the servant of the Lord, has died and Joshua must now lead these people over the Jordan River and into the Promised Land.
The command to Joshua could not be more clear. The clarity of the command is not only in the words that are used, but in the repetitive nature of the words. “Be strong and of a good courage”. These words simply mean to seize, grasp or grow firm. These are words of character and not necessarily of brute, physical force. Be strong in your inner man!
Why is he saying this?
The reason that the Lord tells Joshua this is made evident in the opening verse of our section for today. Joshua must:
(1) Be strong for responsibility - Joshua 1:6
Because Joshua has the particular responsibility of dividing the land for inheritance to this people, he must have courage. The phrase could be read, Thou shalt cause this people to inherit the land. This task alone seems monumental. It includes: entering, conquering the inhabitants of the land. It also includes the leadership of the people of God.
It is land that the LORD swore to their fathers. The task of Joshua was in fulfillment of a promise the Lord had given to the Patriarchs. Joshua is part of God’s Kingdom Mission.
What does this NOT mean?
We have different ideas about being strong and courageous today, so let’s make sure we are clear as to what this does NOT mean. Being strong and courageous does NOT mean making sure that you over-rule everyone. It does not mean being the loudest voice in the room. It does not mean effective revenge. It does not mean having the last word on social media. It does not mean being wealthy and having the power to do what you want. It certainly does not mean having brute strength to lift weights. These are misconceptions of strength and courage today.
What does it mean?
The ensuing verses of our passage help to give a little clarity to what is meant for this strength. Joshua must:
(2) Be strong by a (meditation) particular routine - Joshua 1:7-8
When the LORD gives the command to Joshua the second time, he does so with a modifying phrase “to do according to all the law...” which makes clear what kind of courage is necessary for the task ahead. It is a courage to hear the word of the law, believe the word of the law, and obey the word of the law. There is a presumption of belief that is hear.
It takes courage to continually hear the word of the law and to obey it. This is the mark of true faith. James 2:17.
James 2:17 KJV 1900
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
Now the Lord does not leave Joshua in the dark on how this could be a perpetual event in his life. Joshua 1:8 shows us how discipline is productive of godliness. I Timothy 4:7
Joshua 1:8 KJV 1900
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
1 Timothy 4:7 KJV 1900
But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
Joshua is to continually have this law in his mouth by meditation (growl, mutter, speak…). It is by having this law in himself that he would then obey what was written in the law.
We often are not able to meditate because of many competing ideas. Let me explain. In one small device, there are many applications that compete for our attention. Within one application, there are many people competing for our attention.
In one small television, there are many channels which compete for our attention. Within one small television show, there are many personalities competing for our attention.
Is there any room for God in all of this? Is there any room for his word?
This is what it means to have courage. It means to have the word in you continually — to believe the word and to obey the word. Only then would the success of dividing the land for an inheritance be a reality for Joshua.
How does it apply?
These first few verses leave us with these thoughts: (*) to be courageous is a command to hear the word of God, believe the word of God, and obey the word of God. It is an inner quality that is required for God’s kingdom mission.
This inner quality was something that was lost in the Garden of Eden. Listen the the words of Adam in Genesis 3:10. From this point in the biblical account, we see people who must be encouraged to not be afraid.
Genesis 3:10 KJV 1900
And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
Hezekiah, the king of Judah, comforted his people by telling them the words of this command in Joshua in II Chronicles 32:7. Hezekiah was a godly king who sought to bring Judah back to obedience of the law of the Lord. In spite of these periods on Israel’s history, it became evident that God’s people and God’s leaders would not have this kind of strength and courage.
2 Chronicles 32:7 KJV 1900
Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him:
God’s people would ultimately be exiled from the land, but before they were exiled a prophet named Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 40:3 a passage that points ahead to the ministry of John the Baptist. It is in that passage that Isaiah also makes clear that there would be one who would come that would be the source of courage.
Isaiah 40:3a KJV 1900
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
See Isaiah 40:9-11.
Isaiah 40:9–11 KJV 1900
O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; Lift it up, be not afraid; Say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, And his arm shall rule for him: Behold, his reward is with him, And his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with his arm, And carry them in his bosom, And shall gently lead those that are with young.
The inner quality to be strong to believe and obey the precious law of God was fully accomplished when Jesus Christ came to this earth. Matthew 5:17. There are two important thoughts here.
Matthew 5:17 KJV 1900
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
First, as Joshua was to have this strength and courage in order to cause the people to inherit the land, Jesus had a greater strength and courage to cause his people to inherit the incorruptible. I Peter 1:3-4 confirms that we are inheritors of eternal life.
1 Peter 1:3–4 KJV 1900
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
As inheritors, we have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise which is the guarantee or our inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14), and the Holy Spirit confirms for us that we are joint-inheritors with Christ. (Romans 8:17).
Ephesians 1:13–14 KJV 1900
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Romans 8:17 KJV 1900
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
What inheritance matters most? To have all that the world can offer and to not inherit eternal life is the greatest tragedy.
As a Christian, our roots are loosely tied to this earth. Our roots of a house or a finances....
Secondly, as Joshua was to have the strength and courage to believe, mediate, and obey the law of God, Jesus had a greater strength, who in his hour of deepest temptation was faithful in heart and life to the law of God.
True success is not found in boldness that is brash and rebellious. It is not found in equal opportunity or gender equality. True prosperity is found as we submit to God’s Word by His Spirit. It is the “nevertheless not my will” of the Christian’s life. It is the “deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow me” of the Christian life.
Illustration: This past week, I spoke to many of our church family. Several of them mentioned to me one common reality. They said that during this time, they have been able to read more of the Bible and study more. This is wonderful. In a world where so much is competing for our attention: Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, Instagram....etc There are some who are meditating in the word.
Because I am an inheritor in Jesus, I will meditate in your word day and night, so that might obey your word.
Are you an inheritor in Jesus Christ?
Are you strong and of good courage in the LORD?
Part II:
The command to be strong and courageous is an inner strength for those in relationship with God.
It is a strength that is lived out by mediating on, believing in, and obeying the word of God.
It is a strength that comes from God’s presence alone.
As we opened up these verses, we saw that Joshua was to be strong for a particular responsibility (v. 6), and he was to be strong by a particular routine (v. 7-8). The question now is what is the source of this courage and strength? Immediately we might say that the word is the source, but that is not entirely accurate from the passage. Meditating and obeying the word is how Joshua was going to be courageous, but the question is why should Joshua be courageous?
What is he saying?
(3) Be strong because a (His presence) particular Source - Joshua 1:9
The source of Joshua’s strength and courage was to be the presence of the Lord.
Illustration: I was running on a path recently when a child going the other way on his bike passed by me. As he did, he looked at me, a stranger, and then immediately glanced back to make sure his parents were still in view behind him. For this child, without even really knowing it, he was looking to find confidence by the presence of his parents.
This is the idea here that Joshua would have received. Joshua could be strong and courageous because he had the promised presence of God (see also Joshua 1:5).
What does he not mean?
What this does not mean is that since God is omnipresent, He is everywhere so Joshua does not have to worry about God being there. He does not mean merely that God is just in the same room. Both of these examples give the idea of someone who is just an observer.
Illustration: In a recent show a father and his little girl were in a talent contest. Both of them had guitars and sang before a room of captivated spectators. In one sense, the spectators are present, but this is different than what this promise means.
What does he mean?
What the promise means is that the LORD would be with Him in a personal and involved manner. It means that the LORD would give Joshua favor before the people. It means that Joshua would receive wisdom from the LORD. Joshua 6:27.
Joshua 6:27 KJV 1900
So the Lord was with Joshua; and his fame was noised throughout all the country.
The LORD would be personally with Joshua. As the book develops what we find out is that the LORD would actually be the main Actor. The LORD was going to get his hands dirty in the work. See Joshua 23:1-3.
Joshua 23:1–3 KJV 1900
And it came to pass a long time after that the Lord had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age. And Joshua called for all Israel, and for their elders, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers, and said unto them, I am old and stricken in age: And ye have seen all that the Lord your God hath done unto all these nations because of you; for the Lord your God is he that hath fought for you.
How does this apply?
The presence of the LORD is an awesome reality in the scriptures. In Genesis 3:8 Adam and Eve hide from his presence. In Genesis 4:16 Cain flees from the presence of the LORD.
Genesis 3:8 KJV 1900
And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.
Genesis 4:16 KJV 1900
And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
All of creation has a response to the presence of the Lord (Psalm 97:5). The presence of the Lord can either be a source of fright or an empowering cause for fight. The presence of the Lord can be a reason to be afraid or a reason to be bold.
Psalm 97:5 KJV 1900
The hills melted like wax at the presence of the Lord, At the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
The Lord has shown his presence in many ways: through visions and dreams to the patriarchs, through a burning bush to Moses, through the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai. Through glory in the Tabernacle. But notice carefully what John says in John 1:14-18. Jesus is the presence of the LORD among men.
John 1:14–18 KJV 1900
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
You would expect that this would give courage to those who believed Jesus was God, but we find in Mark 4:38-40 that his disciples feared, so what was it that converted these disciples to be men of courage rather than fear?
Mark 4:38–40 KJV 1900
And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
After Jesus manifested his great power through the Resurrection, he gave them a promise in Matthew 28:20. He fulfills this promise when the Spirit of God is sent to indwell believers. I John 4:13.
Matthew 28:20 KJV 1900
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
1 John 4:13 KJV 1900
Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
Why can you be strong and of good courage? You have the Source of this strength and Courage. It is the Lord.
* Do you have this Source?
* If you do have this Source, are you living a covetous life or a content life? (Hebrews 13:5-6)
Hebrews 13:5–6 KJV 1900
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
- Is your life a life striving to live obedient to the law of God? (Hebrews 13:1-4)
Hebrews 13:1–4 KJV 1900
Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body. Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
You experience the presence of God:
through his word
through his people - I Cor. 3:16
1 Corinthians 3:16 KJV 1900
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
The command to be strong and courageous is an inner strength for those in relationship with God.
It is a strength that is lived out by mediating on, believing in, and obeying the word of God.
It is a strength that comes from God’s presence alone.
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