I have started reading and thinking through the life of Joshua - the guy who was the second leader of the nation of Israel. He got the job after Moses passed away.
In the opening chapter of the book that records his leadership ventures, the phrase "be strong and courageous" comes up several times (four if I count correctly). If you turn back a few pages to Deuteronomy 31, you will see if pop up again when Moses is talking to the people and to Joshua.
I began to wonder if Joshua was a bit of a scardy cat - I mean over and over again he was instructed by Moses and by God to be strong and courageous.
Remember that Joshua was one of the 12 spies who was sent into to check out the land (see the story in Numbers 13). He and Caleb where the only two that reported to the people that, although the people where beg and their cities walled, God could help them take the land that was promised to them. Doesn't sound like someone who is scared.
Fast forward the clock 37 years. A few battles and a lot of wandering in the desert later, God is instructing Joshua to be strong and courageous. Why? Could it be because the last time they were at the threshold of moving into the promised land they were scared? Could it be the last time God was ready to fulfill His promise to them they shirked back and did not operate in faith? Probably.....
OK, now here is the tough part. How often do I do that? How often do I shirk back from faith, start to worry, move away from belief in God and follow my own path that is paved with my fears? How often do I chicken out and NOT believe what God has to say? More than I care to admit I am afraid.
I believe that I need these words everyday -
Joshua 1:7 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.
Lord, help me to be strong and courageous today as I encounter situations and circumstances and relationships that are going to try to move me to fear; attempt to move me to not have faith; attempt to move away from you.