Last week as I was preparing for the time here, I was reading in Joshua 1. As you know, that is where Joshua is taking over leadership of the nation of Israel from Moses. I was struck by the fourfold repetition of a phrase.
Many of us have Joshua 1:8 memorized. But notice the repetition in verses 6, 7, 9, and 18. Some form of the phrase, “be strong and courageous,” shows up in each of those passages. Note that there are two instances of the phrase before Joshua 1:8 and two after.
The command in Joshua 1:8 is for the new leader of the nation to hold the Word of God closely and to be careful to obey that Word. That charge is first in Joshua 1:7 and is repeated in Joshua 1:16, by the people in response to Joshua. It is instructive that in the context that he is exhorted four times to be strong and courageous. The implication seems to be that to hold close to the Word and to obey it will require strength and courage.
That is the case in my experience. To follow the Word puts one in conflict with the world, one’s culture, and in some cases others in the Body of Christ. If we are to believe Mark 4: 1 – 20 and the synoptic parallels (Matthew 13:1 – 2; Luke 8:4 – 15), the enemy will do all that he can to both obscure and pull us away from the Word of God.
It takes strength, courage, and perseverance for us to hold fast to the Word and obey. A cursory reading of Joshua, bears out the need for this reminder and challenge. If we are honest with ourselves we will admit that it takes strength and courage to be careful to obey the Lord in our daily lives…
In the Body today, this seems to be a timely reminder.