Encouraging (originally posted March 30, 2011)

An interesting theme keeps recurring in the book of Joshua: “Be strong and courageous.” Three times in the first several verses, the Lord said it to Joshua. God was preparing him to lead the Hebrew people into the Promised Land, so he repeatedly told Joshua, “Be strong and courageous.” Actually, one of those three times, the Lord said, “Be strong and very courageous.”

Once God had given Joshua all the information and encouragement he needed, Joshua then addressed the people. He said that it was time and then told them the big-picture plan of taking the land. The people responded favorably. They informed Joshua that they would follow him just as they had followed Moses. Then they said, “Only be strong and courageous.” The people were doing exactly what God had done: encouraging Joshua.

Later, Joshua said exactly the same words to the people, “Be strong and courageous.”

Just as the Lord had done to him—encouraged him—and as the people had done to him—encouraged him—so Joshua did to the people—encouraged them.

Maybe we should do that. “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up…” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

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