Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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Be Strong and of Good Courage

“Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, ‘Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. 8 And the LORD, He is the one who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed’” (Deuteronomy 31:7-8).

Consider the implications of Moses’ words to Joshua. He would take over the rule of the people of God, to lead them into the promised land. There would be many battles, many hardships, and (as it turned out due to the unfaithfulness of the people) many setbacks in his time as the leader of Israel. The words, spoken in front of all the people, were designed not only to bolster Joshua’s courage, but to present him to Israel as God’s chosen leader over them. The path taken would not be easy, but the victory of Israel was assured due to God’s presence. “He is the one who goes before you.”

Courage has often been expected of those who follow the Lord. David told his son Solomon, “Then you will prosper, if you take care to fulfill the statutes and judgments with which the LORD charged Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be dismayed” (1 Chronicles 22:13). Note here again that there would be no reason to fear so long as the statutes and judgments of God were fulfilled in Israel. David, in the 27th Psalm, wrote, “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. 14 Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!” (vs. 13-14). The call for God’s people to be courageous is always based upon the confidence they can have in God to be with them.

Conversely, those who trust that God is with them will show that confidence by their courageous actions. One wonderful example of such confidence is seen in David’s battle with the giant Goliath. In convincing Saul to let him battle the Philistine, David said, “The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:37).

In his confrontation with the giant, consider David’s words, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’S, and He will give you into our hands.” (vs. 45-47). His courage was based in his unquestioning faith in His God. He was rewarded with a great victory for Israel in slaying Goliath, armed only with a sling and five smooth stones.

This is only one of many examples found in scripture:

  • Consider the courage of Joshua and Caleb, as they encouraged Israel to take the land promised them by Jehovah, (cf. Numbers 13:30).
  • Gideon and his army of 300 men courageously attacked and defeated the mighty Midianite army (cf. Judges 7).
  • Esther showed unflagging courage when she petitioned the Persian king Ahaseurus on behalf of the Jews (cf. Esther 7).
  • Daniel was courageous in his determination to continue his prayers to Jehovah despite the prohibition of King Darius (cf. Daniel 6:10).

In the New Testament,

  • Peter and John refused to cease their preaching of gospel, despite the command of the Jewish council (cf. Acts 4:19-20).
  • Paul went to Jerusalem to preach the gospel, fully aware that it might cost him his life (Acts 20:22-24).

As Christians, we too need to be strong and of good courage. It takes courage to put God first, and faithfully serve him in our lives. It takes courage to resist the various trials we suffer in our walk. This we can do because we are “kept by the power of God” (1 Peter 1:5-6). If we live for Christ, we are guaranteed troubles, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). In the face of such trouble, may we all be “strong and of good courage.”