“I command you – be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” ~Joshua 1:9 (NLT)
Joshua…a noble example of complete trust, unwavering belief, and obedient faith in God! When God spoke, Joshua listened and obeyed. Joshua was the appointed leader to take over for Moses after Moses died. What a difficult position to fill because in all honesty, who would ever want to fill the shoes…er sandals of Moses? But…fill them he did!
The first nine verses of Joshua are powerfully encouraging. In those first few verses, Joshua is told to be strong and courageous three times. Look at the intense progression of this command…
“Be strong and courageous…” ~Joshua 1:6a (NLT)
“Be strong and very courageous.” ~Joshua 1:7 (Emphasis mine).
“I command you – be strong and courageous!” ~Joshua 1:9a (Emphasis mine).
Notice the exclamation mark after the last command? I am not sure what you are thinking, but I am thinking God was S.E.R.I.O.U.S. He meant what He said! Yes indeed, I would listen too.
Another treasure buried within those first nine verses is God’s promise to be there for Joshua. Not just once, but three times Joshua is reassured that God’s got his back…
“For I will be with you as I was with Moses…” Joshua 1:5b
“I will not fail you or abandon you.” ~Joshua 1:5c
“For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” ~Joshua 1:9c
The number three caught my attention. Did you know, next to seven, three is the most commonly used number in Scripture (Johnston, 1990). Interesting! And, speaking of three and being courageous, Joshua needed his army. He couldn’t do it alone. Ecclesiastes 4:12b (NLT) advises us to not stand alone. Two is good, but “three are even better for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken” (Emphasis mine.). Thank goodness Joshua had several triple-braided cords of soldiers.
God kept his promise and stayed with Joshua. The LORD gave Joshua clear instructions of what to do to conquer and gain victory over Jericho. Joshua 6:15-16 (NLT) is the story most of us remember and are still able to sing…
“On the seventh day the Israelites marched around the city seven times. The seventh time around, the priests sounded the long blast on their horns” and the walls came tumbling down.
Joshua conquered and found victory because he was strong and courageous…
During the past few months, our Good Samaritan Society has been under attack by COVID-19. The number of positive cases among the residents and staff has been steadily rising. So has the number of deaths. 😥 Fear and defeat seems to be lurking behind the eyes of so many people.
Some residents are lonely. Some are isolated in the COVID wing. Some don’t understand why family isn’t coming to see them. There are chairs kept outside some resident’s room so family can visit through the window. Breaks my heart!
It was time to put God’s words from Joshua into action. Time to be strong and courageous. Time to know God is with us and in control. Time to believe there will be victory over COVID so that family members can once again visit their loved ones who are at Good Sam.
An SOS call went out to people to gather together to march around Good Sam seven times all while praying for healing and protection over all residents and employees there. Praying for COVID-19 to fall!!!
Even though it was a short notice, the word got around and 21 believers showed up to march (amazing…that is three sevens). God showed up too! We were led in prayer before we began, praise music filled the air during the walk, people inside Good Sam waved at us through the windows, and one pastor actually had a ram’s horn that he blew each time we lapped around Good Sam.
It was powerful. It was inspirational. It was heartwarming. I am believing this action WILL make a difference. I anticipate good things to happen out at Good Sam. I am confident there will be victory over COVID-19!
So…let’s get going! Let’s be strong and courageous in our communities all the while knowing God will be with us! He’s got our backs through ALL of this craziness. Believe it.
Johnston, R. D. (1990). Numbers in the bible: God’s design in biblical numerology. Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI.