Then they answered Joshua, “Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey it, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!” Joshua 1:16-18
As Israel’s new leader, Joshua must have been excited, nervous, and anxious. Moses was dead. Nations needed to be conquered. The promise land was still awaiting. The fate of millions of people now belonged to his leadership. Joshua was mighty; he was ready to battle and lead his people to victory. But leading Israel had to have been a daunting task.
God commanded Joshua to be strong and courageous. He promised Joshua his presence and guidance; Joshua would never be alone. He also provisioned Joshua with the loyalty of a great number of soldiers from three of Israel’s tribes. These men were smart, loyal, and fierce. They trusted in God and trusted in Joshua, offering him their full support, even to the death.
With the support not only of Israel’s finest soldiers but of the Lord himself, the One who parted the seas and drowned charioteers and blazed ahead of his people as a pillar of fire, Joshua must have found great comfort. With God with him, how could he fail? The Lord stayed with him; the Lord was his strength and his courage.
God is our strength and courage, too, just as he was for the leader of Israel.