ODJ: courage under fire

December 29, 2015 

READ: Joshua 1:2-9 

Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go (v.9).

We’re in that sweet season of hope and possibilities. No matter how difficult the year may have been, most of us hope for a better and brighter new year. At the end of last year, I knew I would be juggling my job along with the daunting task of handling the responsibilities of a colleague who was going on maternity leave.

With the death of Moses, Joshua was facing a far greater and daunting responsibility—leading the Israelites into the Promised Land (Joshua 1:1-2). God had used Moses to perform awe-inspiring miracles before a stubborn Pharaoh and to lead His people out of slavery in Egypt and into a place of provision in the desert for 40 years. The people shared the promised hope of entering a land flowing with milk and honey. The legacy of Moses must have been intimidating to follow. No wonder God repeatedly addressed Joshua’s fear, urging him to “be strong and courageous” (vv.6-7,9).

Joshua’s success as leader of the nation of Israel depended, however, on his obedience to the Lord (v.7). God revealed that it was vital for him to study and meditate on His Word, and to be careful to obey everything in it. Only by depending on God and His great power could Joshua find success (v.8).

Although I’ve grappled with the additional responsibilities of covering a maternity leave this year, I’ve also grown as a person, gaining experience in areas I would never have had the opportunity to develop. God has proved faithful as I’ve strived to study and follow His Word.

This new year, let’s spend time reading Scripture, walking in obedience to Him, and being strong and courageous. Don’t be afraid or discouraged; remember the Lord your God is with you wherever you go! (v.9).

—Ruth O’Reilly-Smith

365-day-plan: Revelation 1:1-20

Read Isaiah 41:10 and be reminded that you don’t need to fear or be dismayed, for God is with you. 
As you anticipate the arrival of a new year, is there something you’re fearful of and anxious about? How does courage flow from a clear understanding of who God is and what He’s called us to do?