9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Sunday school class was very good this weekend. We started in the book of Joshua and reviewed the portion of Scripture above. During our discussion, a lady made mention that verse 9 is a great promise that should give us courage. I honestly tried to be quiet but I just couldn’t. So I broke my silence – something that happens too often I fear!
Is not the command “Be strong and of good courage” first in the passage? Is not the last phrase – “for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” a result of obedience to the command to be strong and courageous? Is not the context of the entire passage an exhortation to be courageous? I suggested that if Joshua did not obey, God would not be with him. That this verse actually contains a conditional promise. I also reminded some that this is somewhat similar to Jeremiah’s situation in the first chapter of Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 1 :17
Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them.
Jeremiah was being warned – obey or be confounded (confused) in front of the enemy.
We chatted for a few minutes and one believer noticed that there was no “if” in Joshua 1:9, therefore it could not be conditional. I admitted that that was an argument for their position and was willing to consider it. A bit more chatting, but I became distracted by the passage again. I always assumed the verse said …. for the LORD thy God “WILL BLESS” thee whithersoever thou goest, – but it doesn’t strictly say that. Just that God would be with Joshua/Israel. I think that is possibly a different scenario.
Consider Joshua being afraid instead of being strong and courageous. God would not be with him. Not a comfortable situation!
I’m thinking the conditional/unconditional issue isn’t the central issue. God promised to be with Joshua, and the command was to be strong and courageous.
Live with it!
The choice is ours and He will be with us!