Above all, be strong and very courageous to observe carefully the whole instruction my servant Moses commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or the left, so that you will have success wherever you go.
A Call to Courage
Moses had marched into Pharaoh’s court and pronounced judgment on the Egyptians. He then led the children of Israel to the Red Sea, held out his rod, and parted the waters. He ascended the mountain that was aglow with fire, communicated with God face to face, and afterward shone with God’s glory. With God’s help, Moses brought water out of the rock and quail and manna from heaven.
Imagine how Joshua must have felt when he learned that he was to assume Moses’s role and lead Israel into the promised land. Joshua stood alone with the tremendous responsibility of taking over the leadership of this great multitude of unpredictable and often fickle people. It would have been a threatening experience for any human being. Following Moses would have been no easy task.
God understood Joshua’s dilemma. The Lord never gives us a task without providing the resources to carry out the responsibility. Previously the Lord had been with Moses. Now the Lord said to Joshua, “I will be with you, just as I was with Moses” (Jos 1:5). Even though God had prepared Joshua ahead of time, the reality of what lay before him was overwhelming. Consequently, God charged Joshua to “be strong and courageous”—a phrase that appears four times in this first chapter (1:6,7,9,18).
The Lord did more than reassure Joshua of his presence and power. He also spelled out clearly the conditions for successfully taking the land. If Joshua consistently obeyed the commands God gave him, he would be successful and prosperous (1:7–8). These interrelated commands can be summarized as follows.
Steps of Obedience
- Know and understand the law given by God.
- Practice the law of God in both personal and public life.
- Boldly and confidently communicate God’s Word.
As a result of God’s direct communication, Joshua was encouraged and strengthened. He wasted no time responding to God’s charge to action (1:10–18). He assumed his leadership role by calling together the officers and leaders. Then he issued commands to the people who responded willingly and with eagerness, saying, “We will obey you, just as we obeyed Moses in everything” (1:17). Then they showed their full support by exhorting Joshua, “Above all, be strong and courageous” (1:18).
This positive response was the reassurance Joshua needed. There seemed to be no questions, doubts, or hesitancy. His fear and trembling turned into boldness, a steady hand, and a quick stride that demonstrated an attitude of self-confidence blended with a strong faith in God.
– Dr. Gene A. Getz
The Men of Character Bible guides men through Scripture by exploring the lives of men of character found throughout the Bible. With over 60 in-depth articles throughout the Bible, follow in Joshua’s footsteps and learn from the leaders who relied on God and immersed themselves in his law.