Moses, the leader of the Israelites, had just died. Joshua was put in charge of leading God’s people into the land He had promised them. His people had been wandering in the wilderness for 40 years and they were finally ready to face their giants and claim their land. Joshua 1:9 is a reminder that God is with us, even when we face fear or discouraging circumstances. At this pivotal point in Joshua’s life, God said this: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua, like anyone, needed the reminder that God would be with him, even as he faced unprecedented circumstances. When we face giants in our lives or wander in our own wilderness, it can begin to feel as if God is far away. Joshua must have felt the same way. He had an enormous task and leading a whole nation would come with numerous challenges. Yet God encouraged Him to be strong, not in his own might, but in the Lord’s strength. He promised that He would be with Joshua no matter what might come his way.
This wasn’t the first time that God commanded Joshua to “be strong and courageous.” The first chapter of Joshua shows God speaking those words over him a total of three times. Even when we feel alone and afraid, God is ready and willing to speak those same words over us today.
Do not be discouraged
God told Joshua not to be afraid or discouraged as he faced his overwhelming circumstances. When we face our mountains, it’s hard to remember that God is still in control. Yet He graciously states that He is still with us, and He is willing to restore us (Jeremiah 30:17). Our loneliness, fear, depression, heartache, and pain are no match for God. He’s not surprised by anything that happens in our lives. He’s not shaken by our doubt, discouragement, or fear. He’s not worried about how He will get us back on track when we make mistakes or face challenges. Instead, He whispers words of hope, love, and restoration over our lives.
Even when the report doesn’t look good, the neighbors start a new fight, or the anxiety sets in during the night, God is there. He knows our struggles and He looks on us with tenderness and compassion. Depression speaks lies of oppression and despair, but God speaks truths of hope and freedom. The arrows of the enemy can pierce our minds, but they will never win the war on our souls. Christ won that war through His finished work on the cross. Just as God was with Joshua as he marched into his battle, God is with us today as we march fiercely into our battles.