These words were being repeated to Joshua, Israel’s new leader, since little before Moses died and up until Joshua commanded the men in some of the tribes to be ready for battle (De. 31:7; Jos. 1:6,18).
I have read these words countless times, seeking strength during times of high anxiety.
This time, I cannot help but wonder at how repetitive they are.
Was Joshua visibly reluctant or nervous?
He had already proved himself to be a fearless warrior, zealous guard, and loyal spy (Ex. 17:10; 33:11; Nu. 14:6-10).
Perhaps he had grown accustomed to his role of serving as minister to Moses.
Perhaps invading and conquering a foreign land as well as directing an entire nation suddenly seemed more daunting than it ever had before Moses’ death .
Or perhaps Joshua did have his worries under control and he was simply being reminded to remain calm no matter what.
Whatever the case, Joshua did not step back from the plate.
Chapter Two describes him sweeping into action, ordering spies into a city he is but days away from overtaking (Jos. 2:1).
This passage makes me ask myself: how do I react when I am given a new assignment in the congregation to carry out on my own?
It is normal to feel scared or nervous, but to reject a task simply because it is beyond my comfort zone would reflect a selfish, immature attitude lacking in faith.
Joshua was not born a leader. God trained him and gave him the resources he needed.
All Joshua had to do was stay optimistic, trusting in God, using his common sense.
He made mistakes. We all make mistakes. But his courage kept moving him and his people forward, and so God remained by his side.