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Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God [is] with thee whithersoever thou goest. - Joshua 1:9

The book of Joshua is one of my favorite books. While I have read it many times over the years, I still wait with excitement for it to appear in my reading plan, anticipating what new insight the Lord will show me. This book is filled with big faith, miraculous victories, a faithful Father, and several moments of God’s people messing up.

Joshua chapter one, verse nine is a very popular verse. Who doesn’t like to feel strong and courageous? The reminder that God is always with us. The hope, the encouragement that this verse shares, that we don’t have to be afraid!

But why is God reminding them again to be strong and courageous?

The children of Israel had been here before. The place right before crossing over to the promised land but last time they let their eyes and fear dictate their actions rather than trust in the all-powerful, faithful God that had brought them there. They took their eyes off of God and looked at their surroundings, at the enemy, at the obstacles that were bigger than they were, and became dismayed. At this moment, it was the next generation standing where their parents had stood.

Only Joshua and Caleb had come this close to the promise. They were the only ones that took this charge to heart and kept their eyes on God without becoming dismayed the first time.

Now, this word, dismay, caught my attention. Isn’t being dismayed the same as being afraid? Didn’t God tell them not to be afraid already? So, why restate it another way? (besides the fact that we are hardheads) Of course, this led to the dictionary…

Strongs defines dismay as “to break down, either (literally) by violence, or (figuratively) by confusion and fear: -abolish, affright, beat down, discourage…”

Merriam-Webster defines it this way – “sudden loss of courage or resolution from alarm or fear; sudden disappointment.”

You see, I believe God was warning them that right here this side of Jordan, their courage and strength may feel big. At God’s promises, they could set their fear aside but when they got there…when the enemy looked bigger when the wall seemed immovable when they were suddenly outnumbered or overpowered to not let their faith, their trust, their courage disappear because God whom they served was with them.

Regardless of the circumstances, they need only look to God to find the strength and courage, not to be afraid. God was reminding them that there would be moments when their courage would start to fail, that there would be moments when they would be confused about how they could be victorious, but they were never facing any of it alone.

Can you relate? Do you have days when it is easy to be strong and courageous in your faith but then, something happens, and now you feel knocked off course, maybe even slightly blind-sighted to what is happening or could happen?

Maybe today, you are feeling dismayed. You are wanting to be strong and courageous as God has spoken over us, but every which way you look you feel yourself losing that courage, losing your resolution to not be afraid.

Well, I would like to remind you that if you are a child of God, if you have asked Jesus to be Lord and Saviour of your life, then you need not be dismayed because whatever you are facing, you are not facing it alone. God is with you. He will not leave when things are hard or when victory seems impossible. Keep looking to Him and He will lead you exactly where you need to be. Let the Holy Spirit fill you with His love, strength, and courage to press forward in God's calling.

God is never caught off guard or surprised by our circumstances! The enemy doesn’t shock God with his actions, and the Father always has a way for us to move through whatever comes our way!

So, child of God, be strong and of good courage, do not be afraid, or allow the enemy to cause you to be dismayed! God is with you!!


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