Be strong and courageous

What does it mean to “be strong and courageous?”

You could insert “be fierce and persistent” and convey the same meaning.

I made the comment “Women don’t need men to be more like women.” I was surprised at the response as most of the applause came from women.

We’re seeing an increasing void of fathers, and the resultant feminization of society.

A recent editorial states:

So what’s wrong? Increasingly, the messages to boys about what it means to be a man are confusing. The machismo of the street gang calls out with a swagger. Video games, television and music offer dubious lessons to boys who have been abandoned by their fathers. Some coaches and drill sergeants bark, “What kind of man are you?” but don’t explain.

Author Bill Bennett, in his new release The Book of Man, reports that 48 percent of men between the ages of 18-34 are “the biggest users of video games,” two hours per day. Add on four hours of television viewing and this demographic consumes six hours of amusement per day.

Three times in Joshua 1 God says to “be strong and courageous” along with “do not be terrified, do not be discouraged.”

I take great comfort in those words, because it meant Joshua was prone to weakness, lack of confidence, freaking out and despair.

What was God’s answer for Joshua? It was to be careful to obey the book of the law (God’s Word), to meditate on it day and night.

Somehow God was going to “Father” Joshua through His Word. Interestingly, that sort of fathering produced direction and “stopping points.”

A powerful aspect of fathering is to provide healthy stopping points. I was watching my grandson a few weeks ago walk over to the “gate” by the laundry room which marked a stopping point. He just stood there with that look “Can you see me? What will happen if I climb over this gate? (something he has been trying) What are you going to do about it?”

Sadly, many parents remove all “gates” (stopping points) and allow kids to run rampant. The logic is “You can make the right choices… Do whatever you want so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else… Whatever brings you the most benefit is most important… You are the center of the universe…” We fail to realize every child innately tests boundaries in order to determine where the shoulder of the road lies, and the ditch. Seeing and experiencing the boundaries brings peace and rest.

Yes, some may have experienced stopping points with no love or even abusively. But that doesn’t make strength wrong, it underscores the need for it to be expressed through love and conviction over what is right and good.

Back to Joshua, imagine his daily meditation on God’s Word being the stopping point and the launching point for His conquests.

We hear many messages on being humble and caring for others.
Sadly, we hear very few messages on strength and courage, or other verses like the following:
Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13
King David’s final words to his son Solomon before he died
“So be strong, show yourself a man…”
1 Kings 2:2

I’m hoping as we travel through Joshua we’ll see and experience more strength and courage! And I’m praying as a local church community we’ll experience more of God Fathering us through His Word!

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