“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.” Joshua 1:9
I can just see him.
Joshua sits near the waters edge of the Jordan waiting for YHWH. The sound of the men and families in the camp a few miles back can be heard in the distance. As Joshua sits there, he prays. A cool breeze rustles the tall grass near Joshua, and he looks up to the sound of The self-existent One. The LORD, begins to speak. His voice is heard, but His Presence, though unseen is tangible too.
This wasn’t his first encounter with God. Joshua sat outside the Tabernacle waiting on Moses as he spoke to the Lord. Even after Moses would leave, the Bible tells us that Joshua would stay (Exodus 33:11). So, Joshua is very familiar with his Elohiym, but God knows Joshua even better. Before the new leader can tell God why he is not the man to do the job, or share with the Almighty his fears and hesitations, God speaks.
He tells Joshua to be brave. But more importantly, He gives him a promise, His Presence.
It’s a favorite scripture of many of us. Do you have it somewhere in your house? It’s beautiful in the English translation, but there are some important details about the Hebrew words I don’t want us to miss.
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It seemed strange to me for the Lord to command strength and courage, so I did some digging, and I found gold.
The Hebrew word for “command” is tsavah. It means to appoint, bid, charge, command, send a messenger, put in order, appointed, sent.
The meaning that seems to be repeated the most in the definition and better fits the context is appoint. Moses has just died, and Joshua has been chosen to lead. He has been appointed! And God says to him, “Have I not appointed you?’
When I read the verse like this, I hear a promise in His voice. He’s saying, “I chose you for this because I believe in you. I called you to this. You’re the man, Joshua!”
God is assuring Joshua of his call and position, and then he gives him a command. “Be strong!”
Look at the Hebrew word. Chazaq means to fasten upon–hence to seize, be strong, catch, cleave, be constant, continue, encourage yourself, become mighty, take hold, withstand.
God is telling Joshua to hold on tight! Don’t give up! Cleave to what God is doing. Take hold of the promise.
And then God tells him to be courageous. I like that word, but look at the Hebrew. Awmats means to be alert physically or mentally, be courageous, steadfastly minded, strong, harden, increase, prevail, strengthen, make strong.
Courageous fits, but don’t leave out those other amazing nuances of the word. Be alert! Be strong!
I love this. I mean, I loved the scripture before, but now it’s more tangible, doable for me. The very same God who told Joshua this, speaks it to us as we face new seasons, new positions, open doors we’ve been praying for, dreams we’ve longed to pursue. God says,
- I’ve called you.
- Hold on tight to the call, the promise.
- Be alert and be prepared. Do your part.
- Do not be afraid.
- Do not be discouraged (the biggie.)
- Because YHWH, your God (Elohiym) is with you.
I love the thought that I am God’s, but it’s so sweet to think of how He is mine. He’s yours. How blessed we are. We have a God who wants to be with us, and He wants to be with us all the way.
God upheld His promise to Joshua. And He will uphold His promises to us.
How does this apply to your life today? What speaks to you as you read it in the Lee translation:
“Have I not appointed you for this? Hold on tight. It’s going to be a ride. Don’t give up. Be alert and courageous. Don’t shake with fear or let discouragement take you down when things aren’t happening as quickly as you would like. I’ve always been here. And I’m not leaving, because I am your God. You worship me. I am yours. And I walk with you everywhere you go.”
And that my friends is the grit and grace of faith.
ps. I’m holding another drawing for a giveaway of my Ruth Key Word Bible study and goodie-box for the New Year and a Skype session or coffee if you live in the Wilmington area! Just comment on Monday’s Bite of Bread post to be entered. I am announcing the winner next Monday (January 8)!
I love the note: Be alert! I think if I were more alert sometimes I would see more of Him at work and more courageously follow. He is so very faithful! I also love the story of Joshua – one of my favorite!
Me too! isn’t that an awesome word! Thanks for stopping by. You are courageous, Kori! I can tell. :)
I love looking up key words in a passage. It’s like mining for treasure. Loved this, Andy!
Hey Ginger! You’re a kindred word-nerd. :) It’s so much fun. Thanks for stopping by!
Such a fantastic message! So encouraging… Praying for God the strengthen me for the tasks He has appointed me to today! I’d love for you to check out my WordNerdWednesday series. Blessings!
Hi Liz! Thanks for stopping by! I will check out your series. :)
So timely! I love how God does that.
Your words are the best reminder to stay strong and courageous!! Love it!
Hey Melissa! Yay God! I love when he does that! So glad you stopped by!
So awesome Andy! Every time I am just blown away by the fact that He calls me HIS and that He is MINE! One of my favorite scriptures as well. Thanks for linking up with Planting Roots this week! Have a blessed day my friend!
Hey Hen, I know! It is mind blowing! Thanks for stopping by. Blessings!
I love this. It’s the message of this season I’m in and your insight of this scripture gives it a deeper meaning. It raised the words and highlighted God’s message to me.
Hi Tammy! I’m so glad this was encouraging to you and spoke into where you are right now. God is so good! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Blessings!
Andy, I love this new insight. Be courageous and strong doesn’t instruct us to use our own abilities and fortitude to buck up but rather to have confidence that God has called you to it and will equip and provide all that’s needed. Be courageous – stand confidently in your appointed position. As always, I love #WordWednesday
Isn’t it great, Cathy!! I love it too! Thanks for stopping by!