Have you ever faced a challenge that left you feeling inadequate and afraid? The great men and women in the Bible weren’t superhuman, so they undoubtedly experienced the same weaknesses we do. Though Joshua was a strong military leader, he probably felt inadequate to fill Moses’ shoes. After all, Moses had talked with God face to face, performed amazing miracles, and led the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage. How could Joshua ever expect to live up to that?
But remember, Moses didn’t start out as a mighty man of faith. When God first called him to deliver the children of Israel, he focused on his own inadequacy and begged the Lord to send someone else (Ex. 4:10-13). I think Moses knew exactly how Joshua felt. That’s why he exhorted his successor to be strong and courageous.
However, the strength Joshua needed was not going to come from positive thinking or puffed-up self-confidence. What he needed was assurance that the Lord would go ahead of him every step of the way and give the nation the land as promised.
Confidence for God-given challenges never comes from within ourselves. But when we believe the Lord and rely on His Word instead of our feelings, He’ll give us the ability and courage that we need to accomplish His will.
If your life were always easy, you’d never need strength and courage—and you would miss great opportunities to get to know the Lord intimately. Only as we face one faith-stretching challenge after another and experience God’s faithfulness will we learn to depend on Him instead of ourselves.