Divine Platforms: “Be Strong and Courageous” by Katherine Hill

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not tremble or be dismayed for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9).

Read Joshua 1-2

I’ve never been one to take risks. Even now, my three-year-old son will tell me, “I’m being careful, Mommy,” before I have the chance to issue the warning. Risk-taking has always been for other people. Enter Northwest Bible Church where I’ve realized that taking a risk isn’t just for the church employee, but it’s for all followers of Christ. We don’t have to look far to realize God is calling us to risk by inviting others into conversations about Him.

The book of Joshua begins with God’s reminder to the Israelites to be strong and courageous. Joshua can lead the children of Israel through the final battles into the Promised Land after the death of Moses, and the LORD will prosper them. God gives Joshua encouragement (see Josh. 1:2-9), and the Israelites agree to the final (maybe a little crazy?) plan. They are called to be strong and courageous in their pursuit of Jericho. When the children of Israel act in obedience to God, with strength and courage, God prepares the way for them through Rahab, a prostitute living in Jericho.

Jericho, having heard about the conquests of Israel become frightened. They are terrified they will be taken out by the Israelite army. Israelite spies, who had entered Jericho, encounter Rahab, and God demonstrates what happens when risks are taken with courage and strength. When we are strong and courageous in God, He “melts away our enemies.” As the spies are hiding with Rahab, she tells them: “I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you” (Joshua 2:9).

Rahab trembled with fear because of the power of the LORD, so to save herself and her family from impending destruction, Rahab offers her help. God then prepared the way through Rahab for the courageous Israelite spies to escape capture. When we are strong and courageous, it directs other people to God. She also told the spies, “When we heard it, our hearts melted away and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath” (Joshua 2:11). Rahab saw what was happening with the children of Israel, and while she watched the events unfold, she believed in the God who orchestrated it all. When the children of Israel obeyed God, it pointed others, including Rahab, to Him.

When I am desperately dependent on Jesus and cling to the promise that God will prepare the way, I don’t have to rely on my own ability to say the right thing in conversations about Jesus. HE will prepare their hearts. When I trust in Him for the conversation and respond in obedience, others will be directed to Him.

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