As Joshua was leading God's people into the promised land of Canaan, God commanded them 4 times (in Joshua 1:6, 7, 9 &18) to be strong and of a good courage. The battles would be fierce. The walled cities of the enemies of God were high. The giants in some areas were huge. The diseases were rampant, and new to the children of Israel. Let us remember a few blessings and truths from that same God who is still on the throne.
1. Courage is not the lack of fear. It is the faith to obey God when we are fearful, nervous, or facing real danger. Let's ask God for courage to believe, to take precautions to protect, and then be able to serve others.
2. Courage is COMMANDED, which means that it is not an emotional feeling that we work up. It is not a personality trait that a few have. It is a CHOICE to obey a command. Let us be willing to ask for forgiveness when we realize that we did not make that choice.
3. Courage is understood better as we review its synonyms and characteristics: bravery, valor, audacity, chivalry, nerve, guts, grit, gristle, backbone, pluck & spunk. It kept the pilgrims traveling across the Atlantic. It kept the pioneers rolling across the plains. It helps the single parent to face today. It gives determination to the married couples to work at love to avoid the "D" Word. It propels the mountain climber to greater heights. It carries the firefighter into the burning home. It leads the doctor and nurse to the bedside of each patient with a disease.
4. Courage is the greatest when it is seen only by God; when no person knows what you just overcame. Courage happened when you were faithful to God when no one was looking. It helped you stay faithful to your vows when no one was around. You endured pain without cursing God when no one was listening. You blessed God instead. Courage stands with you when you are standing alone for right when no one else seems to understand.
Forty years before Israel entered their new land, God promised them this, "If you diligently heed the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right, I will put none of these diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you. (Exodus 15:26)
God heals still today. When one of His does get sick, He can heal. When a nation follows His ways, they avoid many diseases that accompany unclean living. When we arrive in heaven, we will be healed for all eternity. God is good.