Joshua 1:6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. ESV
Just before Joshua led the children of Israel into the Promised Land, the Lord repeatedly said to him – “Do not be afraid. Be strong. Be full of courage.” Why was it necessary for the Lord to give so much encouragement to Joshua?
Forty years prior to this, the children of Israel had been at this same spot; yet for fear of the giants, they failed to enter in and possess what God had promised. Unbelief not only caused them to fail to trust God, it also caused them to turn against Him. We read from God’s Word that they said – “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” (Numbers 14:2-3) ESV
God responded to the people’s rebellion with this punishment – “According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, a year for each day, you shall bear your iniquity forty years, and you shall know my displeasure.” (Num 14:34 ESV) From that point on, everyone, age twenty and older, spent the rest of their life wandering in the wilderness.
Now, forty years later, they are at the doorstep of the Promised Land once again. Because God is gracious, He has given them another opportunity to enjoy His blessings. But in order for them to enjoy such blessings, they must trust Him and move forward.
Joshua 1:3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. 5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous… ESV
Consider carefully the words spoken by God to Joshua – “Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.” I believe that the same God who promised to be with Moses and Joshua, has promised to be with us as well. The writer of the book of Hebrews quoted this passage when he said – “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)