Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. – Joshua 1:6
Five times (in the texts of Deuteronomy 31 and Joshua 1) Joshua was told to, “Be strong and courageous.” Moses, when speaking with Joshua about his future leadership, challenged him privately about what his position would require. God used the same challenge: once concerning the distribution of the land, another time concerning obedience to His Word, and one last time to remind Joshua of His abiding presence. The final use of this phrase was neither by Moses nor by God, but it may have had just as much of an effect on Joshua’s budding leadership, for it came from the Israelites themselves. The Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh (indicating their support of Joshua’s new position) gave him the final encouragement he needed to indeed be strong and courageous.
Leaders are often evaluated and criticized for their decisions. Frankly, it goes with the position. Of course, the wise leader pays attention to the content of that criticism and seeks to improve. Yet, we must never underestimate the power of an encouraging word, particularly when we give it to those who have been called to lead.
Was Joshua strong and courageous? Perhaps, he heard it enough from those around him that he finally began to believe it himself.
Dr. David Pope is the Founder and CEO of Pope Initiatives. ARM Solutions is a division of Pope Initiatives that exists to activate collaborative efforts for sustainable impact among the global unreached.
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