Joshua 1:9, 10:25 | Deuteronomy 31:6 | 1 Chronicles 22:13, 28:20
2 Chronicles 15:7 | 1 Corinthians 16:13 | Psalm 31:24
We’re pretty sure God wants you to be strong and courageous.
It’s easy to get the wrong idea about following Christ. Jesus, who laid down his life for his friends, seems like the picture of meekness, doesn’t he? He’s the guy who got beat up and crucified without saying much, right?
If that seems weak, it is because you forget that he had the power to call legions of angels to fight for him. He had the power to wilt a tall tree or shut down a raging storm just by saying the word. But he didn’t…because he had a mission to accomplish. Which would have been the stronger move–calmly bearing all that injustice to achieve his Father’s goal, or clenching his fists and calling in a heavenly air strike?
Jesus is the picture of power, courage, and self-control. And it is God’s desire for you to be like him.
Before he died, Moses told the nation of Israel to be strong and brave in the face of the current inhabitants of their promised land.
“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT
Afterward, when the Lord put Joshua in charge, he told him three times to be strong and courageous.
“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 1:9 NLT
Joshua passed the word along to his men…
“Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged,” Joshua told his men. “Be strong and courageous, for the Lord is going to do this to all of your enemies.”Joshua 10:25 NLT
Centuries later, when King David charged his son Solomon with building the Temple for the Lord, he said something similar.
For you will be successful if you carefully obey the decrees and regulations that the Lord gave to Israel through Moses. Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid or lose heart!1 Chronicles 22:13 NLT
Then David continued, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work related to the Temple of the Lord is finished correctly.”1 Chronicles 28:20 NLT
Generations passed, and King Asa was faced with the daunting task of taking down statues and temples of false gods in the land of Judah. The prophet Azariah told him:
“But as for you, be strong and courageous, for your work will be rewarded.”2 Chronicles 15:7 NLT
After the prophecies of the Messiah were fulfilled, when Jesus founded his Church and returned to Heaven, the Apostle Paul encouraged them this way:
Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.1 Corinthians 16:13 NLT
As you can see, God’s message has been the same throughout history: Be strong and courageous. Trust him and follow him, and he will never let you down.
Questions for Group Discussion
- Is it surprising to you that God would want you to be strong and courageous? If so, why? If not, why?
- How do you reconcile these verses about strength and courage with the Apostle Paul’s discovery that ‘God’s strength is made perfect in weakness’ in 2 Corinthians 12:9? Which is it…does God want you strong or weak?
- Do you think it is hard for some people to accept the idea of becoming stronger or more courageous? Why or why not?
- If God wants you stronger and braver, who would want you weaker and more fearful? Could this knowledge help you discern whose voice to hear?
- Is there a way to take this ‘strength and courage’ concept too far? If so, does it have to do with humility or the source of your strength?
Challenge: Bible Mining
We don’t mind that you mined. In fact, we’re challenging you to dig deeper!
In this episode of the Superbook Show, we provide eight “Be strong and courageous” scriptures. Can you find more?
To be clear, if you find the other two instances in which God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous–those count as two. But does it count if a scripture just deals with being strong OR courageous and not both? We will leave that up to you (but we’re leaning toward ‘no’).
Finally, if you need a bigger challenge…try counting how many “Be strong and courageous” scriptures there are in the Bible.