Joshua 1
Sermon Bible
Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying,

Joshua 1:6

There are two kinds of strength and courage. There is animal strength and there is moral strength; there is animal courage and there is moral courage. And although the strength of active limbs and firm muscles and the courage which men share with the lower animals are not to be despised, but praised and sought after in their degree, yet it is to the nobler qualities the text chiefly refers when it says, "Be strong and of a good courage."

I. The need of strength and courage. God gave this word of good cheer to Joshua, and repeated it thrice over, so that he might never forget it. Joshua and his men needed it, or God would not have said it to him thrice so earnestly. You will need to hear this cheering cry: (1) in the hour of confession; (2) in the hour of temptation; (3) in the hour of misfortune; (4) in the hour of death.

II. The source of strength and courage. "Be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed, for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." This is the secret. It is to have God ever near, a Friend unseen to others, but visible to us. Christ with us—that will make us strong and courageous. He knows all the dangers that are before us. Our enemies are strong—the wicked heart, the tempting world, the unknown future. But greater is He that is with us than they that are with them. No power can stand against us if He is on our side. And, best of all, He loves us. If we know that Christ loves us and that He has all power and knows all that is before us, what have we to fear?

J. Stalker, The New Song, p. 141.

Joshua 1:6-7This exhortation to be strong and very courageous is given solely with moral application, is applied to the keeping of the law of God. The words of Divine injunction rise to the point of greatest emphasis and intensity when the thing commanded is a simple, continuous, unswerving obedience. Applying the subject to ourselves, we have—

I. A sufficient rule of guidance for life. Joshua had; we have. There was a law of God then by the keeping of which he and all his people might approve themselves to the Lord, and be strong men and heroes. There is a law of God now, fuller, richer, more spiritual, more complete, in the keeping of which we may approve ourselves to the Master, Christ. Our law is the whole Gospel, as requiring from us a practical, and loving, and continuous obedience. To be "strong" is to make endeavour to go forward and grasp something in the Divine life; it is to take up a certain position in practical obedience and say clearly, "I am here: I stand by this." To be "of good courage" is to maintain that position against the force of temptation and opposition of every kind. (1) Strength and courage are needed at home and with ourselves before we meet the world at all. The critical part of the struggle is within. (2) Strength and courage are needed in the Church; i.e. among Christian people. (3) Strength and courage are needed when we go more fully out into the world. We need courage to live honestly, courage to live simply, courage to speak frankly and boldly in condemnation of the speech or the action of others.

II. We have in the context direction how we may attain this temper and habit of Christian courage. It is fed by truth, by the law or the revealed truth of God. When the soul has found the flowing fountains of strength, and drinks of the same day by day, her courage will be day by day renewed.

A. Raleigh, The Way to the City, p. 89.

References: Joshua 1:6, Joshua 1:7.—A. P. Stanley, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xvi., p. 17. Joshua 1:7.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xiv., No. 796; Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 132; J. Keble, Sermons for the Christian Year: Sundays after Trinity, Part I., p. 31; Clergyman's Magazine, vol. x., p. 209; H. M. Butler, Harrow Sermons, 1st series, p. 73. Joshua 1:8.—G. Brooks, Five Hundred Outlines of Sermons, p. 193.

Joshua 1:9This expression "Be strong" does not mean "Be strong in body," but "Be strong in mind;" "Be strong in spirit;" "Be brave."

An order like this could not have been a mere mockery, an order which Joshua was unable to obey. The word which bade him be strong was an assurance at the same time that if he would, he might be strong according to his day.

I. The first secret of true courage is to know and be sure that we have some power. Hence the wisdom of the maxim of the ancients, "Know thyself"—learn to see what thy real capacity is, and knowing that, shrink not from venturing on putting it to the proof. It is not too much to say that all men go wrong by underestimating themselves? For what deeper self-depreciation is there than for a man to live in the world forgetful of what he is brought here for—forgetful of his Christian privileges, of his Christian name, of his Christian freedom?

II. We all have some power; the question is, How much and what? That is the question we should ask ourselves every day; it is the great question of our early life especially, for on the right answering of it all our success depends. Our weaknesses guarded against often become our strength; and our best lessons, if we heed them, are our mistakes. Joshua's strength was a knowledge of his weakness. Beware of thinking you have no strength because you are not omnipotent. God says to us all, whatever worthy work we are entering upon, "Be of good courage; be strong!"

A. Jessopp, Norwich School Sermons, p. 97.

References: Joshua 1:9.—J. Ellison, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xv., p. 305; Congregationalist, vol. vii., p. 400. Joshua 1:16-18.—Parker, Pulpit Analyst, vol. i., p. 626. 1, etc.—G. Gilfillan, Alpha and Omega, vol. i., p. 156. 2—A. Saphir, Found by the Good Shepherd, p. 383.

Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.
Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.
From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.
There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.
Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying,
Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the LORD your God giveth you to possess it.
And to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, spake Joshua, saying,
Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, The LORD your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land.
Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed, all the mighty men of valour, and help them;
Until the LORD have given your brethren rest, as he hath given you, and they also have possessed the land which the LORD your God giveth them: then ye shall return unto the land of your possession, and enjoy it, which Moses the LORD'S servant gave you on this side Jordan toward the sunrising.
And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go.
According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee: only the LORD thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses.
Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death: only be strong and of a good courage.
William Robertson Nicoll's Sermon Bible

Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

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