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 1:9)
As we go through this life, it’s easy to get discouraged by all we see going on around us. War, hate, murder, greed, lies, covetousness, idolatry, sorcery, corruption, injustice, disease, famine, adultery,
intoxication, disrespect, the destruction of the family, —the list goes on
and on and none of it seems farther away than our TV set.
The enemy would have us believe that the prevalence of all of these
things indicates that he is winning. Indeed, the speed with which
modern culture seems to be running away from God and turning its
back on Him can make us feel small and powerless.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
If we consider the Bible passage above, we find these are the words
God spoke to Joshua just before he led God’s Chosen People into the
You remember Joshua, right? He was one of the twelve spies sent into
the Promised Land to report back to Moses and the people about what
they found there. Ten of the spies said the people who lived there were
like giants—that they could not be defeated because the Israelites were
like grasshoppers in comparison. It was Joshua and Caleb who said,
Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not fear the people of the
land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them,
and the LORD is with us; do not fear them. (Numbers 14:9)
The people responded to Joshua and Caleb’s urgings by making
preparations to stone them.
Forty years later, only Joshua and Caleb were still alive to lead the
children of those people into the Promised Land.
And what command did God give Joshua right along with His urging to
be strong and courageous?
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall
meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according
to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous,
and then you will have good success. (Joshua 1:8 )
God told him to speak the Law, to think deeply about His good and
perfect Law day and night, and be careful to do it.
And, it came with a promise—that his way would be prosperous and he
would have good success.
Of course, neither Moses, or Joshua, or David, or anyone but Jesus Christ ever managed to do exactly according to all the law.
But Jesus did die for our sins in our place and He did rise from the dead! He did keep the law perfectly. And, in doing so, Jesus is the ultimate victor whom no foe can ever defeat.
And we are His people who are called by His name.
So, do not be discouraged. We are not grasshoppers. We are beloved
sons and daughters of the King of kings and Lord or lords, adopted into
His very family and heirs to His kingdom.
I know when the world seems discouraging to me, reciting the Ten
Commandments out loud and meditating on His good and perfect law,
all the while knowing that I have a Savior who did for me what I could
not do for myself, is very helpful. What brings you strength and courage when the world seems
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
(Psalm 27:1 )