Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:6-9
My rising college freshman leaves in less than two months. As I read this passage, I think of Grant – packing up and moving on to possess his new land and fresh callings.
In my study today, I was struck by the power of encouragement. Yes, this passage is for Joshua, but I am moved by something a little different.
“Be strong and courageous” occurs FOUR times in THIS CHAPTER alone. Four. This is God’s encouragement to Joshua concerning his future role of leading Israel into Canaan. Note – the Israelites had been working towards this “promised land” for FORTY YEARS. This is a big deal people. Huge.
So a leader’s strength and courage are obviously a must.
But look back with me to the previous chapter. You know, Joshua was Moses’ apprentice. Assistant. Right hand man. And God was clear… “Moses, you will not go across the Jordan… It will be Joshua leading them.” My paraphrase.
But look at what God told Moses to do…. “Encourage him, for he will lead Israel as they take possession of it.” Deut 1:38 And again in Chapter 3 “Commission Joshua and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead the people across the Jordan.” v. 28
I love encouragement. I love to receive it. I love to give it. It is my love language both coming and going. So I went to work researching this favorite word – encourage – in the original text.
And of course…. I struck gold.
Would you believe that the word ENCOURAGE and STRENGTH are practically inseparable in meaning?
Strong’s Hebrew definition for encourage is laced with words like “strong, restore to strength, to strengthen, to sustain, to make bold, to make firm, to put forth strength, to withstand, to hold strongly.” You get the picture.
In my 2022 “Becky brain” dictionary 🙂 I would have guessed I’d find a definition like “to give life, make confident, spur on, inspire or reassure.” And I am not completely wrong.
BUT … at its core … ENCOURAGEMENT makes one STRONG. It is an injection of strength to the soul. Empowerment for the task.
WHAT POWER WE HAVE FRIENDS! Who do you know needs STRENGTH?
Moses’ words of encouragement gave Joshua the STRENGTH to lead this entire nation.
God’s encouragement gave Joshua the STRENGTH to courageously walk out a HUGE task.
YOUR words of encouragement can give SOMEONE the STRENGTH to lead, to walk, to go and accomplish whatever it is they are facing today, too.
Encouragement is not fluff, friends.
It is POWER.
So as I send out my college freshmen I will not only make sure he is registering for classes and ordering the right books, but I will be a strength speaker…. because I see now know its importance, necessity and power for his journey.
Be a Moses today. Speak STRENGTH over a friend. I have a feeling you already know who needs it.
((These are reflections as I read through the Bible this year. You can also find them on Instagram if not on the blog!))