“Be strong. Be courageous. Believe in yourself. You’ve got this.”
We’ve probably heard this, or something like this said to us before. We’ve read it in books, watched motivational speakers say it, or simply read about it on an Instagram post as a quote with a mountain or the ocean in the background.
It’s a nice message that can and should motivate a lot of us to do the things that we’re afraid of doing. But I do have some issues with it.
In the Bible, this message of ‘be strong, be courageous’ is used quite often.
In the book of Joshua, the Israelites are about to enter the promised land. But they have a huge obstacle in front of them – the impenetrable city of Jericho.
So Joshua, the leader of Israel, sends two spies into Jericho to ‘look over the land’.
Just before this, however, Joshua gets this command from God –
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid: do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
When the spies enter the land, they find out that the people of Jericho, the great city, are in fact, quite terrified..
The Bible records one of them telling the spies this –
“…our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.” – Joshua 2:11
What we see here are two groups of people – the Israelites, a people who were formerly slaves, and mighty warriors from city of Jericho.
And yet, it is the Israelites who are described (or commanded to be) ‘strong’ and ‘courageous’, while the hearts of the people of Jericho have melted in fear.
Two groups of people, on opposite sides of the strength and bravery spectrum.
But the key is in knowing why the Israelites were commanded to be strong while Jericho was afraid.
The key is in the verse itself.
They’re told to be strong and courageous. To not be afraid : to not be discouraged.
‘FOR THE LORD YOUR GOD WILL BE WITH YOU WHEREVER YOU GO.‘
The reason for such a huge difference in the state of their hearts is this – God is with one group of people, and He isn’t with the other.
And that’s made all the difference.
In this world, we are told to ‘be strong, take courage.’ Because ‘you’ve got this.’
And yet, the message of God’s Word is this – ‘be strong, take courage. He’s got this.‘
In every single situation and circumstance in your life, the only thing that matters and should matter is if God is with you.
And dear believer, He is.
Be strong, take courage. Do not be discouraged. The LORD your God is with you.
And that’ll make all the difference.
Here’s our cover of Jonathan and Melissa’s Helser worship song, Beautiful Jesus, sung by Sushmita Majumdar. We pray it blesses you.