[courage] : the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery
: strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty
After the death of Moses, the Lord instilled Joshua as leader, and said to him:
"Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them - to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot… No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave your nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous…
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. [Joshua 1]
Later, the Israelites were gathered at Shiloh.
The country was brought under their control, but there were still seven Israelite tribes who had not yet received their inheritance. So Joshua said to the Israelites: “How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has given you?” [Joshua 18:2-3]
So Joshua cast lots and distributed the land to the Israelites, tribe by tribe.
So the Lord gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their ancestors, and they took possession of it and settled there. The Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their ancestors. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the Lord gave all their enemies into their hands. Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. [Joshua 21:43-45]
Courage can look like marching forward or taking ownership of what God has already assigned to you. Courage is a quality of spirit - the Spirit God gave us. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and self-discipline. [2 Timothy 1:7]
There are things that we know God is calling us into or truths that we know but are not walking in because fear holds us back. Fear, which Jesus died to set us free from; which as children of God, we are free from. Yet fear creeps in and says “not ready, not worthy, not able…” Did the Israelites feel ready to cross the Jordan River at its highest point or the Red Sea, did they feel comfortable wandering around in the desert? God had a specific timing for these leadings, as He does in our lives, but His ways and thoughts are higher than ours, so His timing is often different from ours. That’s why we listen to and trust His voice. He did not say to the Israelites or to Joshua, “When you feel secure and the road ahead looks safe, go right ahead.” He said “Be strong and courageous. I’m giving you this land as an inheritance; claim it. Do not be afraid or discouraged. I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
God led the Israelites to their inheritance through Joshua. If Joshua chose to indulge fear rather than obeying God’s command to be strong and courageous, he would not have led them there. God could still accomplish His purposes, but Joshua would have missed out on the joy, honor, and blessing of being used by God. We are used by Him and glorify Him when we obey Him despite what we understand about where He’s leading.
Courage is when He says “Come” and we say “yes, Daddy, lead me.” When our obedience is not hindered by fear, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God, and we need not be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
He shared in our humanity - our flesh and blood - so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death - that is, the devil - and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. [Hebrews 3:14-15]
"If you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him… you will stand firm and without fear. You will be secure, because there is hope. You will look about you and take your rest in safety. You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid." [Job 11:13-19]
In righteousness you will be established: Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you. [Isaiah 54:14]
Courage is not the absence of fear; it’s walking forward anyway, recognizing that our feelings often betray the truth. The facts and the Truth say I’m right where I need to be, walking in step with Him, Abba who’s holding me by the hand and leading me.
I used to seek His commands so I could serve Him; now I listen to His voice so I can follow Him. He goes with us every step of the way.
Courage is the faith to keep stepping.
Courage is willingness to trust Him even without visual evidence of safety or a plan of what you’re walking into. Willingness to face the unknown with the One who knows.
Courage is not a mustering up of our own strength, but a decided dependence on His.
Just as He did for the Israelites, God will give you rest on every side. Not one of your enemies will withstand you, and all of His promises to you will be fulfilled. No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life, and no weapon forged against you will prevail. This is the inheritance of the servants of the Lord.
Trust Him. Be strong and courageous.
He wants to lead you higher and deeper; venture.
[For your continued pursuit: Ezra 10:4; Psalm 23; Psalm 91:5; Isaiah 41:10; Isaiah 51:12-13; Isaiah 54:17]