In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
—2 Timothy 2:20
This is the seventh message in my series on preparing for your calling. Follow this link to read previous posts in this series. Last week, we saw that Joshua spent time pursuing God on his own, and God chose him to eventually lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. After the death of Moses, as God was preparing Joshua to cross the Jordan, He told Joshua:
“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
God reminds Joshua to be strong and courageous. He then emphasizes to be strong and “very” courageous. Then a third time He “commands” him to be strong and courageous. As if that wasn’t enough, a few verses later the Israelites remind Joshua once again to be strong and courageous.
Then they answered Joshua, “Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses. Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey your words, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!”
Why all the reminders to be strong and courageous? Joshua had already been told a few chapters earlier. Why was it so important to continue reminding him?
Before Moses died, Moses encouraged the Israelites, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
He then encouraged Joshua, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their forefathers to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Then the Lord commanded Joshua, “Be strong and courageous, for you will bring the Israelites into the land I promised them on oath, and I myself will be with you.”
Each time Joshua and the Israelites were told to be strong and courageous, they were also reminded that God would be with them and would never leave them. The purpose of reminding them was to help them gain confidence to fight the battles that were ahead. Without confidence they would be quickly overtaken and wouldn’t accomplish God’s will.
God will often call us to do things that are beyond our own ability. It can be scary to do something that you know you have no power to do on your own. God tells us not to be afraid because He is with us, ready to help us succeed in His plan.
When the Sennacherib threatened Jerusalem, King Hezekiah told the people to: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.
2 Chronicles 32:6-8
When God called me to start writing, the first verse He told me to hold on to was Hebrews 10:35-36: “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”
Once reality kicked in, and I saw that I had no experience in writing, I became scared. As soon as I took my eyes off God and started focusing on my own ability, fear began settling in. For about a month, I couldn’t write anything. Every time I tried to write I was unable. I started questioning if I had made a mistake and God didn’t call me to write. I felt stuck. I didn’t know what to do.
One evening, I was watching a Bible study video. The message was on Hebrews 10:35. The preacher had a trash can next to her as she shared a story about losing her confidence early in ministry. As she tossed a piece of paper (that symbolized her confidence) in the trash, God opened my eyes and showed me that’s what I had done.
Immediately, I got out my laptop and started writing. Full of confidence in the Spirit, the words came pouring out of me like a flood. It was amazing. Once I had my confidence back that God was with me and helping me, His spirit was unhindered and able to work through me.
But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.
2 Chronicles 15:7
I hope this message encourages you to be strong and courageous. Don’t throw away your confidence that God is with you. Don’t focus on your inabilities. Focus on God’s abilities. And watch what His Spirit can do through you!
I praise You for always being with me. I know You will never call me to do anything that You won’t be there to help me accomplish. Thank you for giving me confidence in Your ability. I am not afraid. I know that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. I am strong and very courageous!
In Jesus’ name, I praise You! Amen!