Be Strong and Courageous – 3 Lessons from Joshua 1:9

Have you ever had to do something but didn’t feel equipped or have the courage to try for fear of failure or ridicule?  Or perhaps, you have a dream but getting there is a big step and you wonder if it’s even possible. Fear of failure OR fear of success can stand in your way.  Do you feel strong and courageous?

Fear of not being smart enough, having enough experience, or not being educated enough, and on and on, can hold you back from the purpose and design God has created for you.  These lessons of courage from the life of Joshua will encourage you to be strong and very courageous.

3 Lessons of strength and Courage from the Life of Joshua

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When you Need Courage

As a parent, there may be conversations that you don’t know how to have with your children or spouse.  Situations that you don’t know how to react to.  Things you wish you would have done differently.

In my job as a school administrator, I have dealt with a lot of these scenarios.  Over the past 10 years, some parts of the job have come fairly easily, but other parts of the job have led me down the path of feeling insecure about my abilities and knowledge.

Several years ago, I had a very difficult situation that needed to be addressed.  Because of my position, it was my job to have a difficult conversation and layout the potential consequences for the individual.

It wasn’t a situation that I had to address immediately and so I took it home with me.  I slept with it, I dreamed about it, I carried it around on my shoulders for weeks.  My husband listened to the saga, I asked for advice from trusted advisors, and I knew what needed to be said and done.

When Your Courage is Gone

Fear of criticism.  Fear of the outcome.  Fear of reaction of the individuals.  Fear of the reaction from those who only knew one side of the story.  So many things to be afraid of!

As a result, the situation grew into a huge issue in my head and in my life.  It started to affect my whole life.  I was on the verge of crying all the time.  I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  I was exhausted from thinking about all the possible scenarios and collecting information. I was lacking courage.

One day as I was talking to a colleague, he mentioned that I might have come to the position for a situation like this.  God had a plan and He would provide.  The situation wasn’t about me at all, but rather about the individual. I needed to be strong and courageous.

Lessons from the Life of Joshua

Joshua’s story in the Bible is a wonderful place to look for courage.  The book of Joshua doesn’t specifically tell us that Joshua was afraid, but over and over again God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous. God was teaching Joshua the same lesson in courage over and over again!

This is stated four times in the first chapter alone and is stated over and over again throughout the book of Joshua.  This makes me think that Joshua might have been fearful or worried about his ability to lead or do the job he had been asked to do. 

He had been given the job of taking the Israelites into the Promised Land.  Joshua was asked to finish the job that Moses had started but because of his choices, he wasn’t allowed to cross over. 

Joshua was now given this responsibility that Moses – with 40 years of experience – wasn’t able to complete.  His insecurities might have been getting in the way of the calling God had placed on him.

I can picture Joshua inside his tent talking to his wife and shedding tears in fear of what God had asked him to do.  Things he hadn’t done before.  Things he didn’t know how to do.  He is supposed to chase out all the people of the land!  That is pretty big!

His friend and mentor, Moses, had just died so he’s dealing with grief as well.

The people might compare his work with Moses’ work.  “But Moses always did it this way….”  All those voices in his head were discouraging him from the job God was equipping him to do.

God came to Joshua and reminded and instructed him.

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

Be Strong and Courageous

If God came to you today and said these words to you, what situation might He be addressing for you?   He’s probably not asking you to bring down the walls of Jericho.

He’s also probably not asking you to lead thousands of Israelites and get them on the same page about crossing a river into the Promised Land.  Although, getting your kids ready and in the car on a school morning may feel like that!

God may be asking you to….

  • do something hard! 
  • do something you’ve never done before. 
  • start the healing process in a broken relationship. 
  • fight for your marriage. 
  • forgive. 
  • move out of your comfort zone and allow Him to lead you into something new and beautiful. 

Whatever the future holds, God will be with you, wherever you go.  He will not leave your side.  The story of Joshua gives so much encouragement because Joshua was a real person with real fears.  Fears that were well-founded.

Joshua had spied out the land 40 years before and had seen the walled cities, the giants in the land, and the enemies they were asked to overtake.  He had also seen the goodness of the land and the goodness of the Lord.  For forty years, he had carried faith around.

Joshua knew God would help them succeed. Joshua’s life was a testimony to his faith in God.

Because he trusted God to be with him, he had the strength and courage to ask the sun to stand still.  He took his army and marched around Jericho for 7 days while the enemies were on the wall above them watching and possibly throwing rocks, arrows, and insults down on them.

Yet, he had the courage to continue and see the Lord work on their behalf.

Joshua 1:9 – Joshua 19 Reflecting on the Life of Joshua

By the end of the book of Joshua, all the tribes of Israel have been given their parcels of land.  The enemies have been driven out and the land is free from war.  The crops are growing, the people are settled into their new homes in their own towns and cities.

Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. ~ Joshua 21:45

Joshua’s time as a leader was almost finished.  He had completed the jobs God had given him.  He had fulfilled the purpose that God had for him. Joshua 19 relates that Joshua was included in the distribution and given land and inheritance just like the twelve tribes.

As he reviewed the great things God had done for them he reminded the people of God’s leading.  He encouraged them to “be very strong” to follow God’s law and reminded them once again about God’s promises and their fulfillment.

You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed.  Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. ~ Joshua 23:14

Through all of the challenges, scary situations, criticism, insecurities, and questioning, Joshua remained true to God.  Joshua looked for God’s promises and remembered the fulfillment of those promises over the years.

Courage comes from seeing God’s promises fulfilled.  We have to be intentional about keeping track of those promises.  Those answers to prayer to bring down the walls of the Jericho cities in our life.

As you look back at how God has provided for you and taken care of you, you can then move forward with courage, knowing that He will be with you, even if you are afraid.

Even if the job seems too big or too scary, God will go with you.  If you are following God’s leading, He will create a beautiful story in the end.

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Lessons to Help you be Strong and Courageous From the Story of Joshua

  • 1 ~ Courage comes from knowledge and relationship.

Joshua knew God and knew that He was directing him to do specific things.  He wasn’t blindly going about his own agenda and then expecting God to fight for him.  No, he was waiting for God’s direction and then following what God was asking him to do.

Being courageous and strong is moving forward when you know that you are doing the right thing – the job God has given you to do.

  • 2 ~ Courage comes from past experience.

Joshua had seen God’s leading and promises for many, many years.  He knew that God could be trusted.  He knew that God would continue to lead even if Joshua felt inadequate and fearful.  Joshua realized that God’s plan was best.

Marching around a city for seven days didn’t make much sense when Joshua knew he was supposed to overtake the city. But He knew that following God’s direction would result in the best outcome. The more you act in courageous ways, the stronger your actions will be with God’s help.

  • 3 ~ Courage comes through practice and reminders.

There are nine times in the book of Joshua where God reminds Joshua to be strong or be courageous.  You may not hear God whisper in your ear or speak from a mountaintop, but there are ways you can hear these reminders as well.

People in your life may be encouragers or inspirers when you are feeling afraid.  Search for and claim Bible promises to hear God’s encouragement. Claim these verses for yourself and as you seek God’s strength and courage.

Look for verses that speak to your specific need or situation.  Memorize them, write them out and put them on your bathroom mirror, on your steering wheel, on the wallpaper of your computer or phone.

Surround yourself with those reminders that God is with you and will help you.

Moving Ahead with Strength and Courage

What are you afraid of that seems too big to do?  What do you feel God calling you to do that you are fearful about?  Do you feel like you’ve been Praying for Rain Like Elijah without getting any aswers? Start writing down the times in the past where you have seen God leading you, where you have seen direct answers to prayer.

Write these down and start your own story of courage.  Write down some Bible promises that apply to your situation.  Start with these 31 Bible Promises and claim them for yourself. Start reading the book of Joshua and think about Joshua being afraid and insecure.

God has an amazing plan for you and your life.  He has plans for you that are so amazing that you can’t even begin to dream them.  He doesn’t want you to be held back by fear.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you.” Declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”  ~ Jeremiah 29:11-14

What would you do if you knew…

Wait a minute.  You do know this!  God’s promises are true and He is waiting for you to seek Him.  He has been with you in the past.  That means He will also be with you in the future.

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.  Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.  Be strong and very courageous.  ~ Joshua 1:5-7

As a mom, you are leading the army of your family to inherit the land.  You have the job of fighting daily battles, working against the enemies that would break apart your home and distract from the goal.

Have courage today, God is on your side.  He will be with you today.  He will be with you tomorrow.  Be strong and very courageous! Remain in Him – John 15

31 Replies to “Be Strong and Courageous – 3 Lessons from Joshua 1:9”

  1. This is beautiful. This was so helpful to my soul as I feel God has called me to something bigger than myself and yes there is fear. There is concern over what to say and do, in motherhood and beyond. I felt your story is so relatable and I want to know what happened at work – did you say what you should? Did your fears come through or did it work out better than expected? You also made Joshua relatable that he was just brave and ready, but just like us. Thank you.

    • Rose, I’m so glad this touched you. God has an amazing plan for your life and you are right where you need to for Him to work in your life. Thankfully, God is also working in my life and through my challenges and fears as well. Be strong and courageous!

  2. As someone who lives with anxiety, I am usually pretty fearful about any new challenges, no matter how small. Thank you for the reminder that I’m never facing these problems alone!

  3. As someone who is in the education myself, a lot of what you shared here resonated with me deeply. Thank you for your writing!

  4. Wow! I haven’t actually read the story of Joshua for such a long time! So it was awesome that your post used him as a reference! It never ceases to amaze me how weak we really are and how our own minds can become our enemies! But through the power of God we will be made strong and victorious!

    • You are so right! I think sometimes our minds are the biggest battlefield that Satan uses to discourage us from doing what God has planned for us. God’s power is so much greater if we will allow Him to guide and lead us!

  5. There are so many valuable lessons of courage in your Bible study of Joshua that you have provided in this article. No. 1 for me – I need to get into this book and study further. 2 – I need to be purposeful about applying these lessons to my life!
    I’ve also used your article to encourage others today. Thank you!

  6. Great post! I have been there before, fear is a constant battle we fight as Christians and I’m thankful for posts like this that addresses lessons for courage. I liked all the tips you shared from the book of Joshua and other Biblical promises reminder.

    • Very true! Courage comes from practice of exercising our faith. When we are working on something we know is following God, the courage seems to come more easily than we are working on our own!

  7. This Lessons of Courage Post is awesome and SO relatable to me! Everything you described (especially in Motherhood), I was nodding as I read lol. The Book of Joshua is so awesome. Thank you for the incredibly well written post! ❤

  8. I love all of these lessons on courage! Joshua has been one of my favorite books of the Bible. For me, I had to have a “sun stand still prayer” to break the fear I was having that God wouldn’t show up!

    • I find myself going back to Joshua over and over again as well. I actually have a picture on my wall in my office with Joshua 1:9 on it. Just a daily reminder that God has called us to do a work and He will give us the strength to accomplish it.

  9. Joshua is the book I turn to when I find myself afraid of doing something new. He sets a great example of what it looks like to do the next thing that God told you to do and nothing more. Great post.

  10. What a wonderful reminder that none of God’s promises have ever failed and He will always be true to His word. The book of Joshua is proof of God’s goodness and faithfulness to those who love Him.

  11. Thank you for the encouraging words. I never thought about how Joshua must have felt taking over Moses’ positions. Those were big shoes for him to fill, but God was with him and knew he could do it. Thanks for the reminder.

  12. Love these reminders of what produces courage in us. And until we have it, it’s so good to know that God will provide it, and anything we lack when it comes to doing his will. I absolutely love this post! Thanks for laying this out and building us up!

  13. Great post! I am reading Joshua right now as well and I love all your insights into it. This inspires me to trust God when He asks me to do something scary.

    • Oh, it sounds like the timing was just right if you are already reading about Joshua and the courage he had to follow God. You’re right, God will strengthen us as well.

  14. What a beautiful post full of biblical reminders <3 Thank you for writing this! I especially loved that you pointed out that Joshua knew God. He knew God was powerful and faithful, and if God said it, Joshua could trust it. Thanks for sharing!

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