“No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them” (Joshua 1:5-6).
While trying to serve God, have you ever felt discouraged? Perhaps, you felt dispirited because of your awareness of your own weaknesses. Then again, maybe your feelings of discouragement were because you felt alone, without the support of other Christians. The apostle Paul understood that Christians often struggle with discouragement. Paul wrote, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9). At times, we are all tempted to “lose heart” and quit. All of us need someone to step up and encourage us in our desire to serve God.
The opening Scriptures above were spoken by God to Joshua following the death of Moses. One can only imagine the great challenges Joshua must have felt after taking over leadership from such a great, godly leader like Moses. He must have felt like he had enormous shoes to fill. Facing the challenging situation before him, God gave Joshua exactly what Joshua needed: encouragement.
As the above verse indicates, God promises that as He was with Moses so He would be with Joshua. He would not leave nor forsake Joshua. No one would be able to oppose Joshua. Joshua was not to worry about whether or not God would be with Him. He would. Over and over again God tells Joshua on what he was to focus. Joshua was to focus on “being strong and of good courage” (Joshua 1:6, 7, 9). Furthermore, Joshua’s brethren among the tribes of Israel also encouraged him: “So they answered Joshua, saying, ‘All that you command us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we heeded Moses in all things, so we will heed you. Only the Lord your God be with you, as He was with Moses. Whoever rebels against your command and does not heed your words, in all that you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and of good courage’ ” (Joshua 1:16-18). Like the Lord, they too encouraged Joshua to be “strong and of good courage”.
All of us who strive to serve God need encouragement. We need our brethren to encourage us to continue to be “strong and very courageous” to continue to serve the Lord (Hebrews 3:12-13). Most importantly we need encouragement from God Himself. We need a “pep talk from God”. God’s Word is where we find this. In the Bible we read of such encouraging passages as: “For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone” (Psalm 91:11-12).
In God’s Word we also see how God feels about those who love Him and seek to do His Will: "Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation” (Psalm 91:14-16). Isn’t it encouraging knowing God protects His people and God’s feelings towards those who love Him? God’s Word is filled with such encouragement. This is why studying God’s Word should be a part of every Christian’s daily life. We all need a daily “pep talk from God”. Today, I will rejoice for the encouragement God gives me through His Word!
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust” (Psalm 91:1-2)