“Be strong and courageous.” Joshua 1:9
What exactly does this mean? Because my working definition of strong tends to be one that has to do with “bully nosing through” as I tend to say, or being mentally or physically powerful. Strong equals muscle, hard and tough. Sometimes this working definition of mine does not work. I don’t think or feel that I have a enough “muscle” to push through.
The hebrew word here for strong means to fasten upon, to seize, be strong (fortify, repair), to be established, withstand. This definition, to me, allows room for grace and to know that I don’t have to feel it in order to do it. We can be strong because we can fasten upon something, seize and withstand it! Stepping foot in the Jordan, thats going to take some strength! But we can fasten upon the knowing that there is a promise from God that is good.
Sometimes I think of strong as having this powerful engine moving forward. When I don’t feel very powerful, I’m not going to act very strong moving forward. But, there is strength in withstanding and being established. That shows strength.
What about courageous? Webster’s put it, the quality of mind that enables a person to face difficulty, danger without fear; bravery.
The Hebrew word for courage in Joshua 1:9 is to be alert, physically or mentally; establish, increase, harden, make strong. I love how the two go hand in hand. To seize something (be strong), you must be alert (have courage).
What does being strong and courageous mean to you? What does that look like in my (your) walk right now? Is it simply standing still and waiting on God? That takes courage and strength. Being strong and courageous will require me (you) to be focused and stay alert along the path.
God speaks this to Joshua and the Israelites three times! When He repeats something, it’s a good idea to take note and listen. I don’t always get it the first time or two. The Lord tells us to be strong and courageous, because there is promised land at stake here. Be strong and courageous, because it will require us to do something. Be strong and courageous, because I AM is with you!
I love the last one, because it is accompanied with the reminder that my Heavenly Father is with me wherever I go. I will not go over the Jordan by myself. The Father is at my side, ahead of me, he’s there if I loose focus, and to provide for all the needs along the way. And as a sweet friend shared, there are usually others being strong and courageous along the way to help dust me off and point to a road sign along the path.