“Have I not commanded you? BE strong, (vigorous, assertive, confident, perseverant, and disciplined) and courageous! Do not tremble (or BE afraid or timid) or BE dismayed (or discouraged), for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NASB amplified)
According to Dictionary.com the verb “BE” describes an action where the subject of the sentence is called “to occupy a place or position.” The Oxford online dictionary defines “BE” as to “exist, having the state; quality, identity, nature or role specified.” So, when you take those definitions into account as you study Joshua 1:9 and the words that the angel of the Lord spoke to Moses’ replacement, following the great leader’s departure from this world, you can plainly see that God had some specific actions (and/or character traits) that He wanted Joshua to do or “BE” and others that He did NOT want Joshua to do or “BE!” From my point of view, the angel of the Lord was using what my wife termed as “The Oreo Cookie” technique when giving Joshua some leadership tips and techniques.
First he begins to build his Oreo cookie by taking a chocolate wafer as he reminds the new leader of the command he has already mentioned a couple of times in the previous few verses. He builds up Joshua by telling him all the positive character traits that he needs for him to develop or “BE.” In order to be successful in the job given to him, Joshua is instructed to “BE: strong, (vigorous, assertive, confident, perseverant, and disciplined) and courageous!”
Then he spreads the cream inside the chocolate cookie by warning him of the character traits that he needs to alertly and actively stay away from. The angel of the Lord makes it clear that in his leadership role Joshua must “BE not afraid or timid and BE not dismayed or discouraged!”
And finally he concludes his instruction by adding the bottom chocolate cookie wafer with the encouragement in knowing that he will never “BE” alone because “the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.””
From the very early days of my Christian walk back in the early 1970’s, I learned to take the commands in the first nine verses of the book of Joshua very seriously. That section of scripture quickly became one of the first and foremost directions from God’s Word that I deeply stirred into the makeup of my life. To be honest… that’s why my wife and I named our first son Joshua! There was never a question of what our first child’s name would be. We didn’t just confer the name upon him though, but we also prayed the Biblical Joshua’s strength, confidence and courage into our son daily while he was still in the womb, and for many years since then… and you know… We can see many of those traits in him today, some 37 years later!
The Tree of Life version of the Bible states the beginning of this verse as “Have I not commanded you? Chazak! Be strong!” In order to reflect the importance and strength of the angel’s command from the Lord to Joshua, it repeats the command to “BE strong” twice. Once in the original Hebrew and then in English. This would be similar to the Apostolic Bible Polyglot’s Greek translation that I mentioned in my last post that begins with the attention grabbing declaration to Joshua: “Behold!” which describes an exclamation used to capture the listener’s attention concerning an important message of something, as the Oxford online dictionary puts it: “to see or observe a things or person, especially a remarkable or impressive one.”
Hebrew4christians.com describes the word “Chazak” as a command to “BE stout hearted and decided in your convictions, and the Lord will instill courage to your heart.” I really like that description, don’t you? After hearing the Lord’s directions to us for me to quit my outside job that kept me away from our home and Piper’s increasing needs for nine to twelve hours each day (depending on which Home Depot store my merchandising team went to that day), we KNEW that we would have to face some financial challenges along the way and also have to deal with persecution from some folks who we realized would not be in agreement with our move.
That’s why we sought the Lord, prayed and came up with and initiated a financial plan as well as a business plan for my lawn and yard care business BEFORE giving in my two week notice. But even more importantly, we didn’t make a move until we became “DECIDED in our convictions” concerning what we felt we needed to do. With that conviction already decided in our hearts, we then KNEW that we could withstand any difficulty that we might face along the way.
Once we became “DECIDED in our conviction” we had the foundation to begin a new chapter in our lives where we daily have needed to “BE strong, BE confident and BE courageous!” Like never before, the God given and God quickened nature to “BE” just like He told Joshua to “BE” has increased in us! Each new adventure, each new task, and each new responsibility that we have been called to do and “BE” has worked to develop us more and more into His image!
I can honestly say, that every time I read this particular verse, something inside of me jumps for joy with the expectation of what God might have us to learn and “BE” next! Have you ever sensed similar things from the Word in your own life? Those are some of the most exciting times that my wife and I have ever had!
So… I’d better bring this post to a close, but don’t fret… we’ll take a brief look at those “BE NOTS” in our next post. But until then, I would encourage you to meditate on Joshua 1:9 and listen to hear how or what the Lord would call you to “BE!” Have a great rest of the week and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Who or What am I expecting to “BE” today?”