A lasting commandment

Second in the COURAGE series

The significant first mention of the word Courage in the Bible (KJV) is found in the thirteenth chapter of Numbers:

And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them, Get you up this way southward, and go up into the mountain: And see the land, what it is; and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many; And what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad; and what cities they be that they dwell in, whether in tents, or in strong holds; And what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the first ripe grapes. (Num 13:17-20)

On their return, ten of the spies warned against entering the land and the two who urged going forward, Joshua and Caleb, were threatened with stoning by the people. (Num 14:10) For these cowardly reactions (Heb 3:19), God would not allow the Hebrews to enter the land until 40 years had passed, one for each day it had been explored. (Num 14:34) And then, only the children of the fathers would enter, and Joshua and Caleb who gave a good report.

This story brings up number of points.
1. It is critical to have good representatives. People (sheeple) will follow the bad advice and example of ungodly leaders.
2. Fear gives rise to discouragement, leading to inaction or wrong actions. Come against it! (2 Tim 1:7)
3. The Lord would have us to consider the topography of the challenges ahead. This is not to cause us to turn back but to press into him for help to be more than conquerors. (Rom 8:37-39)
4. God will not tolerate babyish ranting nor unwarranted disbelief from his own people. Christ came to show us the Father and to die for our sins, making a way for us to live eternally. He has promised to be with us to the end. (Mat 28:20) Have we any excuse not to drive the enemy from our minds and hearts? (Mat 4:7)

After the 40 years Moses commanded Joshua, Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. (Deut 31:6, 7, 23) The good word of the Lord had not changed: Be of good courage!

The Lord himself charged Joshua with the Courage command in Josh 1:6, 7, 9; and Joshua repeated it to the people, Josh 1:18; 10:25, so the land was conquered, nearly all of it.

As the centuries passed, the Israelites would repeat these words to one another and to their children.

  • David spoke them to Solomon to encourage him in building the temple (1 Ch 22:13; 28:20);
  • Ezra was lifted by them, hearing a Hebrew say them in seeking to be upright following the exile (Ezra 10:4);
  • Isaiah recalled the strength of those who feared the Lord and sought to follow him, helping one another by saying, Be of good courage. (Isa 41:6)

From these “mentions” we draw a few more conclusions:
1. There will never be a time on earth when we won’t need to hear these words.
2. We must encourage one another and the younger generation by saying them.
3. We must obey them.

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. (Josh 1:9)

Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people, and for the cities of our God: and let the LORD do that which is good in his sight. (1 Chron 19:13)

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD. (Ps 31:24)

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