Summary: Joshua was called by God to take a stand in one of Israel’s toughest moments
Standing When Times are Tough
There was a test conducted by a university where 10 students were placed in a room. 3 lines of varying length were drawn on a card. The students were told to raise their hands when the instructor pointed to the longest line. But 9 of the students had been instructed beforehand to raise their hands when the instructor pointed to the second longest line. 1 student was the stooge. The usual reaction of the stooge was to put his hand up, look around, and realizing he was all alone, pull it back down. This happened 75% of the time, with students from grade school through high school. The researchers concluded that many would rather be president than be right.
C. Swindoll, March 27, 1984.
Courage means to stand up even when it might cost you something. Courage is the ability to stand even when no one else does. Courage is the radical dependence on God to redeem and deliver us.
Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them. Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Courage is a great need within the church. We need to face the challenges awaiting us with courage and conviction. Many times Christians cower in the corner instead of standing up for what is right. We back down when others call us intolerant. We back down in times of crisis. We are called to stand.
Biblical Examples of Courage
David faced Goliath when no one else would
Daniel stood for his faith and ended up in the lion’s den
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when they were thrown in the furnace
Esther risked her life going before the king
Stephen when he stood before the Sanhedrin
Ananias when he went to Saul following his conversion
5 No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6 "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
God made a commitment to Joshua (5)
5 No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
God makes some incredible promises to Joshua here. The first is that no one will be able to stand against him. God is essentially telling Joshua that there is no enemy that will be able to defeat him. Every battle that he will have to face has already been won. What an amazing confidence builder! Joshua is told that the battles are already won, all he needs to do is to follow and obey. Joshua already knows the challenges that await them in the Promised Land, he scouted it out 40 years before and saw their enemies.
God tells Joshua that this promise is not on a short term basis or for one set of battles. Instead, God says “all the days of your life” This means that as long as Joshua lives and obeys, he will walk in victory. Each and every day that Joshua gets up, he is promised success. From the moment that God speaks to Joshua to the day he dies, he carried a promise of personal victory.
The second promise is one of personal closeness. As I was with Moses so I will be with you. Think about what that would have meant to Joshua. Joshua had a close relationship with Moses and knew the connection that existed between Moses and God.
Remember that Joshua was the aide of Moses and would have seen a number of his encounters with God. Joshua was with Moses when he went to the tent of meeting. Joshua was with Moses when he went up the mountain of God. The Bible makes it clear that God spoke with Moses as a friend, face to face. God promises a similar type of relationship with Joshua. Joshua would have had a clear understanding of the kind of relationship God was promising.