Good morning, and Happy and Blessed New Year!

Greetings in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.


So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)




Today, as we embark on a journey through Joshua 1:1-9, we enter a narrative brimming with encouragement and divine promise. In these verses, we find ourselves at a critical juncture in Israel’s history – the moment of transition from Moses’ leadership to Joshua’s. God speaks to Joshua with a command that is as relevant today as it was then: “Be strong and courageous.” This passage transcends its historical context; it’s a timeless call to action for every believer, a call to embrace God’s will with unwavering strength and courage.


As we delve deeper, we see that these words were spoken at a time of great uncertainty and change. Joshua faced the daunting task of leading the Israelites into the Promised Land, a mission filled with challenges and battles. Yet, in the midst of this transition, God’s message to Joshua was clear and emphatic. It was a message of reassurance and empowerment, urging Joshua to step forward boldly, grounded in faith and confidence in God’s presence and guidance.


The command “Be strong and courageous” is not merely a call to physical or emotional fortitude. It is an invitation to trust in God’s sovereignty and to lean on His infinite wisdom. Throughout this sermon, we will explore the depth and implications of this command, its context in Joshua’s life, and its profound significance for us today. We will uncover how these words apply to our own experiences of facing new challenges, making difficult decisions, and stepping into the unknown.


Let us open our hearts and minds to God’s Word, allowing it to speak into our lives and guide us in our daily walk with Him. As we journey through this passage, may we be inspired to embody the strength and courage that comes from a deep trust in God, and may we be empowered to fulfill the unique calling He has placed upon each of our lives.




Understanding the Call to Courage


Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  (Deuteronomy 31:6)


The call to courage is a central theme in the biblical narrative, and nowhere is it more poignantly articulated than in the book of Joshua. As we dive into Joshua 1:1-9, we find Joshua at a pivotal point in his life and the history of Israel. He is about to take over the mantle of leadership from Moses, one of the greatest leaders in Jewish history. Joshua faces the formidable task of leading the Israelites into the Promised Land, a mission filled with uncertainty and fraught with challenges.


Understanding the nature of biblical courage is essential to grasping the full weight of God’s command to Joshua. Courage, as depicted in the Bible, is not the absence of fear but the ability to trust in God amidst fear. It’s about having faith in God’s promises and provisions, even when the circumstances are daunting or the path ahead is unclear.


Joshua’s situation was one that could easily invoke fear. Succeeding Moses, a leader who had direct conversations with God and performed miraculous deeds, was no small feat. Moreover, leading a whole nation into a new, unfamiliar land, filled with powerful adversaries, required more than human strength or wisdom; it required divine guidance and assurance.


God’s assurance to Joshua is found in His promise: “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5). This assurance is the foundation of true courage. It is the realization that God’s presence accompanies us in every challenge we face. This promise is not just for Joshua but extends to all believers. In Hebrews 13:5, we are reminded that God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” This enduring presence is a source of strength and courage for all who put their trust in God.


Furthermore, God’s command to Joshua to meditate on the Law day and night (Joshua 1:8) highlights another aspect of biblical courage – it is rooted in God’s Word. The Word of God provides wisdom, guidance, and reassurance. It serves as a compass in times of uncertainty and a source of strength in times of weakness. Psalm 119:105 affirms this: “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”


In addition to relying on God’s presence and His Word, courage involves stepping out in faith. It’s about moving forward even when we don’t have all the answers or when the outcome is not guaranteed. As 2 Corinthians 5:7 tells us, “For we live by faith, not by sight.” This faith is not blind optimism but a confident assurance in the character and promises of God.


In our lives, just like Joshua, we are often called to step into unfamiliar territory or to face challenges that seem insurmountable. Whether it’s a new job, a difficult relationship, a personal struggle, or a calling to serve in a particular capacity, the command to be strong and courageous remains relevant. We are called to trust in God’s presence, to immerse ourselves in His Word, and to step out in faith, even when the path is unclear.


Courage also involves resilience and persistence. The journey into the Promised Land was not a quick or easy one for the Israelites. It required sustained faith and perseverance. Similarly, our journey of faith may involve long seasons of waiting, enduring, and pressing on. Galatians 6:9 encourages us, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Our courage is often most evident not in the absence of struggle but in our persistence through it.


In addition to individual courage, there’s also a communal aspect to it. Joshua was called to lead a community, and his courage had a direct impact on the people he led. As members of the body of Christ, our courage can inspire and encourage others. We are called to support and strengthen one another, as encouraged in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”


In conclusion, the call to courage is a multifaceted one. It involves trusting in God’s presence, grounding ourselves in His Word, stepping out in faith, exhibiting resilience, and inspiring others. As we navigate our own journeys, may we take to heart the command given to Joshua. Let us be strong and courageous, not because of our capabilities but because of the God who promises to be with us every step of the way. Let this understanding of biblical courage guide us as we face our own challenges and step into the unique plans God has for each of our lives.




The Role of God’s Word in Cultivating Courage


Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.  (Joshua 1:7-8)

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. (Psalm 119:105)


In the journey of faith, the Word of God plays a critical role in cultivating courage. Joshua 1:7-8 underscores the importance of not only adhering to God’s commands but also continually meditating on them. This meditation is not a passive act; it involves deep reflection, understanding, and application of God’s Word in every aspect of life.


Meditating on God’s Word provides guidance and strength, especially in times of uncertainty and challenge. As we immerse ourselves in Scripture, we align our thoughts and actions with God’s will, which is foundational for courageous living. Psalm 119:105 illustrates this beautifully, describing God’s Word as a lamp and a light that guides our path. In a world that often feels dark and confusing, Scripture illuminates our way and provides clarity in decision-making.


Obedience to God’s commands, as emphasized in Scripture, is a key aspect of courageous living. Obedience is not merely following rules; it is a response of trust and faith in God. It acknowledges His authority and wisdom in our lives. As we obey God’s Word, we find that it empowers us to face challenges with confidence. Deuteronomy 31:8 reassures us, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” This promise bolsters our courage, knowing that God is with us in every situation.


Engaging with Scripture daily is vital for nurturing a courageous spirit. One practical way to do this is through regular Bible study. Setting aside time each day to read, reflect, and pray over God’s Word helps us to internalize its truths. Bible study can be enhanced through resources like commentaries, study guides, and group discussions, which offer deeper insights and understanding.


Memorization of Scripture is another powerful tool in cultivating courage. By committing God’s Word to memory, we equip ourselves with spiritual ammunition to use in times of fear, temptation, or doubt. As Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” These hidden treasures of Scripture provide strength and encouragement when we need it most.


Lastly, the application of Scripture in our daily lives is where true transformation occurs. James 1:22 challenges us to be “doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” Applying God’s Word involves putting into practice the principles and teachings of Scripture. It means living out our faith in tangible ways, whether in our relationships, our work, or our service to others.


In conclusion, the role of God’s Word in cultivating courage cannot be overstated. Meditating on Scripture, obeying its commands, and applying its truths in our lives are essential practices for building a courageous faith. As we journey through life, let us cling to the Word of God as our guide and source of strength. May we be people who not only read and understand God’s Word but who also live it out courageously in every area of our lives.




Courage to Embrace God’s Plan for Our Lives


“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)


One of the most significant aspects of living a life of faith is the courage to embrace God’s plan for our lives. This often means stepping into the unknown, trusting in God’s guidance even when the path ahead is not clear. Joshua 1:9 is a powerful reminder that God commands us to be strong and courageous, assuring us of His constant presence. This assurance is the key to overcoming the fears that can hinder us from fulfilling God’s purpose.


Identifying and overcoming fears is a crucial step in embracing God’s plan. Fear can take many forms – fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, or even fear of success. These fears can paralyze us, preventing us from stepping out in faith. However, 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” This verse encourages us to reject fear and to embrace the strength, love, and wisdom that come from God.


The courage to step out in faith, even when the path is unclear, is a recurring theme in the Bible. Abraham’s journey to an unknown land (Genesis 12:1-4), Peter walking on water (Matthew 14:29-31), and Paul’s missionary journeys (Acts 13-28) are all examples of individuals who took bold steps of faith, trusting in God’s guidance. Their stories inspire us to trust in God’s leading, even when it requires us to step out of our comfort zones.


Contemporary examples of courageous faith can also be found in the lives of modern-day believers who have taken risks for the sake of the Gospel or have stood firm in their faith amidst adversity. These stories serve as a testament to God’s faithfulness and the power of a courageous faith.


In addition to trusting in God’s presence and guidance, embracing His plan for our lives also involves seeking His will through prayer and Scripture. James 1:5 encourages us to ask God for wisdom without doubting. Seeking God’s wisdom in decision-making allows us to discern His direction and to move forward with confidence.


Courage in the Christian life also involves enduring trials and persevering in faith. James 1:12 promises a blessing for those who persevere under trial. This endurance is not passive; it’s an active trust in God’s sovereignty and goodness, even in difficult circumstances.


The concept of God’s plan for our lives is not about a predetermined blueprint that we must decipher. Rather, it is about aligning our desires, decisions, and actions with God’s character and purposes. Romans 12:1-2 calls us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice and to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, so that we may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. This transformation process requires courage to let go of our own plans and to embrace God’s ways.


Courage to embrace God’s plan also involves making choices that honor Him, even when they are countercultural or unpopular. Daniel’s refusal to stop praying to God despite the king’s decree (Daniel 6) and Esther’s decision to approach the king uninvited, risking her life to save her people (Esther 4:16), are examples of such courageous choices.


In conclusion, embracing God’s plan for our lives requires a courage grounded in faith and trust in His presence and guidance. It calls us to overcome fears, step out in faith, seek God’s wisdom, and persevere in trials. As we look to the examples of biblical figures and contemporary believers, let us be inspired to live courageously, aligning our lives with God’s purposes. May we have the courage to embrace whatever path God lays before us, trusting that He equips and strengthens us for every good work He calls us to.






Summary and Life Application


In summarizing, we’ve learned that “Be strong and courageous” extends beyond Joshua to all believers. It’s about trusting God amidst fears and uncertainties, with His presence as our constant guide. We’ve also highlighted the vital role of God’s Word in fostering courage. Meditating on, obeying, and applying Scripture equips us to confidently navigate life’s challenges.


Embracing God’s plan for our lives with courage often means stepping out in faith amidst the unknown and overcoming doubts that hinder us from realizing our divine purpose. Like Joshua, we are challenged to trust in God’s provision and guidance for every mission He entrusts to us.


For practical application, consider areas where God is calling you to demonstrate courage. This could involve new steps of faith, addressing fears, or deepening your commitment to Christ. Engage daily with Scripture to mold your perspective and decisions. Identify a specific area needing courage, devise an actionable plan, and seek support from your faith community.


Let’s close in prayer, seeking God’s strength and wisdom for upcoming challenges. May we, like Joshua, embrace God’s call with determination and faith, secure in His promises and ready to move forward in His path. Amen.





But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)


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