‘Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them’ (Joshua 1:6).
‘Be strong and courageous’ is a recurrent theme in the 1st chapter of Joshua as he takes the commission from the Lord to take over charge from Moses.  As Joshua stood on the edge of the Jordan river and also on the edge of making history for the Israelites, God’s message for Joshua was built around the need to gather courage. The Israelite nation had come far and they were all set to take possession of the promised land and become a nation in the geographical sense. As God leads his people toward abundance, there is a great need to gather courage and indeed claim the promise that has been laid before us. No abundance comes easy and lest the various challenges are overcome, many a promise will remain unfulfilled.


The implication with the command is that every person needs to find strength and apply courage. The phrase ‘gather courage’ is in fact a representation of the truth that courage does not come easily for man, but can be gathered up within his soul if he makes an effort. While bravery is more natural for some, every man does have some fears that can cripple him. These fears need to be overcome and courage needs to be gathered if man can move forward. The message that Joshua received is relevant for every person who looks to God for abundance in his life.


What are some fears that can cripple you? Fear of the unknown becomes a fact when you are asked to venture into something unknown. The unknown variables that can come up, usually not well defined in the mind of one struggling with it can be crippling. The fear of people is perhaps the most common. At every step in your life, there are people who assume to be a threat to prevent you from accomplishing what you are meant to achieve. Sometimes, these threats are real; often they are imaginary. The fear of the future with the insecurity that can come with it is also a fear that can seriously endanger your efforts to move forward. Fear can be induced by practically anything and can seriously impair your productivity.


What are the resources a Christian has in the face of fear? Obeying God’s command, not deviating from it and keeping God’s words afresh in our minds is crucial to live boldly. Fear is driven out by the strength of the indwelling Holy Spirit for one who lives in close fellowship with God. The righteous are as bold as a lion, whereas the wicked flee when no one chases them. Applying faith is a great treasure for the Christian. As he leans on to God, faith becomes a strong foundation upon which courage can be gathered. Remembering past history of how God has helped you reaffirms the basis for you to continue to trust in God.


Gathering courage is a command and a necessity to claim the abundance that can be truly ours to enjoy. However, far too often, fears in various forms can seriously impair us and limit the abundance we can obtain. The Israelites did claim Canaan, but as the book of Joshua progresses with the history of the Israelite nation, we see that several tribes fail to drive out the nations they could have displaced and end up limiting their abundance. How much of God’s abundance we can claim truly is an index of how courageous we can be.

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