Updated: Jan 30, 2021
"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." Isaiah 43:1-2
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. Do what I tell you to the letter. Remember my words. Think about my words. Speak my words. Do what I've said...And you will find success in everything you do. My protection and provision will be there for you. I will be with you wherever you go. You will see that I will deliver what I have promised.
I love this book of Joshua. I always need that prompt, that rally cry... that call to action like God gives to Joshua in chapter one. "Here's what you are going to do. Don't be afraid. I am with you. My promise to you will be fulfilled." Then it is followed with the details. "Do as I say. Don't hedge from my instruction one way or another. Don't get ahead of me and don't hesitate. Keep my words of instruction and of promise before you at all times. Wait on me and prepare while you are waiting. Get ready in mind, body and spirit. And finally, when I give the word, DON'T BE AFRAID. BE STRONG and FULL OF COURAGE because I am going to ask you to do something that will make no sense... something that will seem contrary to culture... something that will even seem crazy. TRUST ME. BELIEVE ME to the point of taking action. It will require a core trust of the heart, not just of the head. ...AND. I. WILL... I will deliver you into victory. I will bring down city walls. I will give you the land I promised your forefathers... every place your feet touch will be yours. You will be more than conquerers.
And the last line of chapter one: "Only be strong and courageous". Some translations say, "But be strong and courageous". Kind of like, remember to be strong and courageous. I like the Only version. Don't be anything other than strong and courageous.
We, if we are really going to be followers of Christ are going to be called to do illogical, uncomfortable and even dangerous things. Maybe that's why we are told over and over and again to FEAR NOT. DON'T BE AFRAID. BE FULL OF COURAGE. There are going to be those rally cries from God to act in faith and trust. Step into the flood stage waters... Dangerous! (Joshua 3:14) Step out of the boat... Nonsensical! (Matthew 14:22) March around the city three times... Bizarre! (Joshua 6) Roll the stone away from the tomb... Culturally unacceptable! (John 11:39) Maybe in this day and age it will look more like: Go on a mission trip... or even scarier Send your child on a mission trip. Or, write the check of support to someone when you feel compelled and it makes no sense. Or maybe just to take off your Patagonia jacket and give it to the guy who is cold.
It is our belief / trust that leads us into action / obedience that will take us into God's promise. Only... But... Remember... Be Strong and Full of Courage.