After the death of Moses, the people of Israel immediately turned to Joshua for leadership. The Lord had announced Joshua before Moses’ death to take the people into the promised land. They could have asked Joshua for many things. They could have asked him to be wise, cunning, or careful. They could have expected him to take the counsel of everyone before making strategic moves. They could have asked him to check in with factions before asking them to follow. But do you know what they asked of Joshua? They simply asked him to do one thing: “Only be strong and courageous.”
The people of Israel committed to follow Joshua wherever he led. Joshua wasn’t a perfect leader. He did not commune with God as Moses had. He wasn’t the same kind of prophet Moses had been. He offered no résumé of great accomplishments other than the lone report he had given years ago that they could take the promised land from the Canaanites that everyone ignored. So what kind of devotion did they offer to such a man? They commit to put to death any who rebels against his commands or disobeys his words. So, when Aiken steals from Jericho, though the punishment seems harsh to kill him and his family, Joshua simply fulfills the request of the people, of whom Aiken was apart.
Thankfully, God is not calling us to go and conquer the Holy Land. He is not asking us to wage a great physical war of flesh and blood (Ephesians 5–6). Rather, God is calling us to wage a spiritual war against the rulers and principalities and powers of the air, that being a spiritual battle. God is calling us to live holy lives that inspire and lead others. God demonstrated for us in Jesus the example we ought to be for others, but it is going to require of us the same thing it required of Joshua, to be strong and courageous.
Les Hughes, Lead Pastor Chilhowee Hills Baptist Church