They acknowledged God, but often let their hearts grow hard.
They had been miraculously rescued from slavery, yet their trust in God quickly failed.
They reached the edge of the Promised Land, but were afraid to go in.
They were scared of the “giants” in the land.
They thought it may be safer on the outside looking in, than on the inside gathering all that God had promised them.
Only Joshua and his buddy Caleb believed.
So they wandered. They wandered for 40 years. There’s that number again.
They needed cleansing.
They needed preparation.
So that is what God orchestrated on their behalf.
It didn’t seem like a good thing, but it was.
When the 40 years were complete, the time had come. I bet God was excited. Like I am when my kids open their presents on Christmas morning. And He had picked just the right person to lead them into the Promised Land. He wasn’t perfect, but he had humility of heart. His name was Joshua.
Joshua is a person in whom I can relate. He outwardly appeared so strong and courageous, yet inwardly must have dealt with fear and insecurity, confusion and discouragement. Repeatedly, God told Joshua, “Be strong and courageous, do not be terrified, and do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Josh. 1:9). In the first chapter of the book of Joshua we see that God told Joshua three different times to “Be strong and courageous,” and three different times God reminded Joshua that He would be with him, and that He would never leave him or forsake him. And that is just in the first chapter!
Why did God have to tell him to be strong and courageous so many times? I think it is because Joshua was an ordinary man, called to an extraordinary job by his extraordinary God. And because he was ordinary, just like me and you, he waxed and waned between great seasons of faith, courage and confidence, and fear, doubt, and discouragement.
In the midst of it all, Joshua knew where to go for help. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to press on despite the fear. And Joshua knew that true courage comes from the Source of all good things—God.
Ask God to give you courage today.