Then they answered Joshua, “Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey it, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!”
God has promised Joshua ‘I will be with you, I will never leave you nor forsake you. v.5
He has commanded him ‘Be strong and courageous’ v.6 repeated three times!
He has pointed him to the secret of success v.7 – Careful obedience of the law given through Moses.
All this is God focussed but there is a further important part that the people to play in our passage for today.
Joshua has addressed the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half tribe of Manasseh to whom has been allocated an inheritance east of the Jordan River the people are about to cross. He has reminded them of their commitment to cross over and fight with their brothers as they take the land that God has promised them, (v.12-15) and their response is
“Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey it, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!”
They promise to obey and they encourage him ‘Only be strong and courageous!’
As believers we are in a constant battle against ‘the rulers, authorities and powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms’ Ephesians 6.12 but do we encourage one another in the way the two and a half tribes encouraged Joshua?
‘Only be strong and courageous’
When did you last do that for a Christian friend? When did a friend last do that for you?
When I was in the third year (as it was then) in Grammar School (Year 9 today) my Form Teacher was a Christian and he knew I was. Often when I came into registration at the beginning of the day he would ask me about what I had read from God’s Word that morning and it encouraged me to keep on keeping on in my walk with Jesus. It was his way of helping me to be strong and courageous.
Are we doing the same for our fellow believers? We need encouragement! We need to encourage others! It is easy for our conversations to focus on the trivia. What a blessing it would be if we constantly encouraged each other to be strong and courageous for and in the Lord.