Messianic Learning Feature Articles
Be Strong and of a Good Courage
Be Strong and of a Good Courage!
(Deuteronomy 31:1-6) Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel. He said to them, "I [am] an hundred and twenty years old this day. I can no more go out and come in. Also YAHUAH said to me, 'You shalt not go over this Jordan.' YAHUAH your Elohim will go over before you. He will destroy these nations from before you and you shall possess them. Joshua shall go over before you as YAHUAH said. YAHUAH shall do to them as he did to Sihon and to Og, kings of the Amorites and to the land of them, whom He destroyed. YAHUAH shall give them up before your face that you may do to them according to all the commandments which I commanded you. Be strong and of a good courage! Fear not, nor be afraid of them. For YAHUAH your Elohim goes with you. He will not fail or forsake you."
These words from Moses' farewell speech to Israel indicate he won't join them across the Jordan River. Nonetheless, he assures them to be confident in Joshua, who will replace him as a very capable leader. Furthermore, the defeat of their enemies in that land is a done deal. YAHUAH will accomplish that task just like He did to the Amorite kings earlier.
Then with all of Israel as his witness, Moses speaks to Joshua:(Deuteronomy 31:7-8) Moses called to Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, "Be strong and of a good courage!" For you must go with this people unto the land which YAHUAH has sworn to their fathers to give them. You shall cause them to inherit it. And YAHUAH, He [it is] who goes before you. He will be with you. He will not fail you, nor forsake you. Fear not, nor be dismayed!"
The above underlined phrases are very important, so much so that Moses says them again to Joshua. (Deuteronomy 31:23) He gave Joshua the son of Nun a charge and said, "Be strong and of a good courage!" For you shall bring the children of Israel into the land which I swore unto them."
Moses isn't nagging Joshua, but he wants to be sure his admonition is heard and embraced. It's such an important message that Joshua hears it again, this time directly from YAHUAH: (Joshua 1:6-9) "As I was with Moses, [so] I will be with you. I will not fail you, nor forsake you. Be strong and of a good courage! For, unto this people you shall divide for an inheritance the land, which I swore unto their fathers to give them. Only, you be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded you. Turn not from it [to] the right hand or [to] the left that you may prosper wheresoever you go. This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth. But you shalt meditate therein day and night that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein. For then you shall make your way prosperous. Then you shall have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of a good courage! Be not afraid, nor be dismayed! For YAHUAH your Elohim [is] with you wheresoever you go."
We just read in these scripture verses the same phrase given to Joshua six times. In today's society, we might hear a man say to another, "Hang in there!" or "Man up!" But for us to hear words to the effect of "be strong and of a good courage" is most unusual. And, when the Bible repeats a phrase that often, it is a sure sign of an important message from Elohim. Indeed, these words appear over 50 times in the Bible's King James Version (KJV) to describe key attributes of Yah's people. Thus, Bet Yeshurun Assembly (BYA) does well to seek an understanding of this terminology. So, we will examine the scriptural meanings conveyed in those highlighted words within this article.
Let's consider another example. This time Joshua speaks that unique phrase to the Israelites Remember, Joshua's Hebrew name is "Yahushuah," which means "YAHUAH saves" in Hebrew. As ancient Israel's leader, Joshua prefigures our leader, Redeemer and King, Yahushuah. Both are known for driving out the physical and spiritual enemies of physical and spiritual Israel. (Joshua 10:21-26) All the people returned to the camp to Joshua at Makkedah in peace. None moved his tongue against any of the children of Israel. Then said Joshua, "Open the mouth of the cave and bring out those five kings to me out of the cave." They did so and brought forth those five kings to him out of the cave, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, [and] the king of Eglon. And it came to pass, when they brought out those kings to Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel and said to the captains of the men of war who went with him, "Come near! Put your feet upon the necks of these kings." They came near and put their feet upon the necks of them. And Joshua said to them, "Fear not, nor be dismayed! Be strong and of good courage! For thus shall YAHUAH do to all your enemies against whom you fight." Afterward Joshua smote them, and slew them, and hanged them on five trees. They were hanging upon the trees until the evening.
In Strong's Concordance, "chazaq" (H2388) is Hebrew for "be strong." Itmeans "to fasten upon, be firm, resolute, prevail, harden." The English words "good courage" are translated in the KJV from "amats" (H553). That word means "to be alert (physically and mentally), stedfast, agile, quick, energetic." Now, notice how Joshua again gives the Israelites virtually the same admonition he previously heard from YAHUAH: (Joshua 23:6) "Be, therefore, very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in Torah (the book of the law of Moses), that you turn not aside therefrom [to] the right hand or [to] the left."
David's parting words give the same message to Solomon. He encourages him (and us) to heed Torah, which are Yah's teachings and instructions on life: (1 Chronocles 22:11-13) "Now, my son, YAHUAH be with you and prosper you. Build the house of YAHUAH your Elohim as He has said of you. Only YAHUAH give you wisdom and understanding, and give you charge concerning Israel that you may keep Torah (the law) of YAHUAH your Elohim. Then, you shall prosper, if you take heed to fulfill the statutes and judgments which YAHUAH charged Moses with concerning Israel. Be strong and of good courage! Dread not, nor be dismayed."
Also consider the spiritual component within his words. We, like Solomon, will build a physical temple (our body) to serve YAHUAH, Solomon, like us, won't be alone in building that temple according to the pattern that Yah reveals. Solomon had Levitical priests, skilled craftsmen, Israelite princes and others to help him. We likewise have YAH's gifts of pastors, teachers, prophets, leaders with administrative skills or other talents, and other Believers for helping us to resolutely follow Yah's commandments: (1 Chronocles 28:20-21) David said to Solomon his son, "Be strong and of good courage! Do [it]: fear not, nor be dismayed! For YAHUAH Elohim , [even] my Elohim, [will be] with you. He will not fail you, nor forsake you, until you finish all the work for the service of the house of YAHUAH. Behold, the courses of the priests and the Levites, [even they shall be with you] for all the service of the house of Elohim and with you for all manner of workmanship every willing skilful man, for any manner of service. Also princes and the people [will be] wholly at your command."
During our physical and spiritual battles in life, BYA can pray like David encourages us: (Psalm 27:11-14) Teach me your Way, O YAHUAH! Lead me in a plain path because of my enemies. Deliver me not over to the will of my enemies. For false witnesses rise up against me and breathe out cruelty. [I had fainted] unless I had believed to see the goodness of YAHUAH in the land of the living. Wait on YAHUAH! Be of good courage! He shall strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on YAHUAH!"
While we can anticipate fierce enemy attacks, we also expect Yah to help: (1 Chronocles 19:10-14) Now when Joab saw that the battle was set against him before and behind, he chose out of all the choice of Israel, and put [them] in array against the Syrians. The rest of the people he delivered unto the hand of Abishai his brother and they set [themselves] in array against the children of Ammon. And he said, "If the Syrians be too strong for me, then you shall help me. But if the children of Ammon be too strong for you, then I will help you. Be of good courage! Let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people and for the cities of our Elohim. Let YAHUAH do [that which is] good in His sight." So Joab and the people who [were] with him drew nigh before the Syrians unto the battle and they fled before him.
Scripture also speaks of an ancient time that bears a close resemblance to our times today. BYA can take a lesson in courage from the actions of a king who served when YAH's glory left His people. (2 Chronocles 15:3-9) Now for a long season Israel [has been] without the true Elohim, without a teaching priest and without law. But when they in their trouble did turn to YAHUAH Elohim of Israel and sought Him, He was found of them. In those times [there was] no peace to him who went out, nor to him who came in. But great vexations [were] on all the inhabitants of the countries. Nation was destroyed of nation and city of city. For Elohim did vex them with all adversity. Be ye strong therefore and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded. And when Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage and put away the abominable idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from Mount Ephraim, and renewed the altar of YAHUAH that [was] before the porch of YAHUAH. He gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon. For they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that YAHUAH his Elohim [was] with him.
Now is the time follow the lead of king Hezekiah in strengthening our walls (a spiritual depiction of righteousness). (2 Chronocles 32:2-8) When Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib was come and that he purposed to fight against Jerusalem, he took counsel with his princes and mighty men to stop the waters of the fountains which [were] without the city. They did help him, so there was gathered much people together, who stopped all the fountains and the brook that ran through the midst of the land, saying, "Why should the kings of Assyria come and find much water? He also strengthened himself, built up all the wall that was broken and raised [it] up to the towers, and another wall without, and repaired Millo [in] the city of David, and made darts and shields in abundance. He set captains of war over the people, gathered them together to him in the street of the gate of the city and spoke comfortably to them saying, "Be strong and courageous! Be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that [is] with him: for [there be] more with us than with him: With him [is] an arm of flesh; but with us [is] YAHUAH our Elohim to help us, and to fight our battles." The people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.
Do you see a pattern? The Israelites keep hearing the same words from YAH, Moses, Joshua, David, Joab, Asa and Hezekiah: "Be strong and of a good courage!" Do you think that's a message that we can, and should, share with our family, friends and other Believers? (Isaiah 41:4-10) "Who has wrought and done [it], calling the generations from the beginning? I YAHUAH, the first, and with the last; I [am] He. The isles saw [it] and feared. The ends of the earth were afraid, drew near and came. They helped every one his neighbor; and [every one] said to his brother, 'Be of good courage!' So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, he who smooths [with] the hammer him who smotes the anvil, saying, 'It [is] ready for the sodering.' He fastened it with nails, [that] it should not be moved. But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob whom I chose, the seed of Abraham my friend, whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, called you from the chief men thereof and said to you, 'You, my servant, I chose you and cast you not away. Fear not for I [am] with you. Be dismayed not, for I [am] your Elohim. I will strengthen you! Yea, I will help you! Yea, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness!"
Spend a few moments meditating on this wonderful spiritual promise from YAHUAH Elohim: (Haggai 2:4-9) '"Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel!" says YAHUAH. "Be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest!" "Be strong, all you people of the land!" says YAHUAH. Work! For I [am] with you!" says YAHUAH. of hosts (Tzavuot): "[According to] the word I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so my spirit remains among you. Fear not! For thus says YAHUAH Tzavuot, "Yet once, it [is] a little while, and I will shake the heavens, earth, sea and dry [land]. I will shake all nations and the desire of all nations shall come. I will fill this house with glory," says YAHUAH. Tzavuot. The silver is mine! The gold is mine," says YAHUAH Tzavuot. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former," says YAHUAH Tzavuot. "In this place I will give peace," says YAHUAH Tzavuot.
Will you be counted among YAH's "remnant" people, which means a small number, a very select group? (Zechariah 8:9-13) Thus says YAHUAH Tzavuot, "Let your hands be strong, you who hear in these days these words by the mouth of the prophets, who [were] in the day [that] the foundation of the house of YAHUAH Tzavuot was laid, that the temple might be built. For, before these days there was no hire for man, nor any hire for beast. Nor [was there any] peace to him who went out or came in because of the affliction. For I set all men every one against his neighbor. But now I [will] not [be] unto the residue of this people as in the former days," says YAHUAH Tzavuot. "For the seed [shall be] prosperous. The vine shall give her fruit. The ground shall give her increase. The heavens shall give their dew. I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these [things]. It shall come to pass, [that] as you were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah and house of Israel; so will I save you. You shall be a blessing. Fear not! Let your hands be strong."
These encouraging words can also be found in the Apostolic Scriptures. For example, the words "be strong" is "krataioo" (G2901). Scripture affirms that our strength lies in bearing our sufferings and enduring for Messiah's sake. (1 Corinthians 16:13-14) "Watch! Stand fast in the faith! Quit you like men! Be strong (krataioo)! Let all your things be done with charity (agapao love)."
"Endynamoo" (G1743) also means "be strong" Truly, our strength is in the grace of Yahushuah. We were created to be a warrior for YAH: (2 Timothy 2:1-4) You therefore, my son, be strong (endynamoo) in the grace that is in Messiah Yahushuah And the things that you heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit you to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. You therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Messiah Yahushuah. No man who wars entangles himself with the affairs of [this] life that he may please Him who chose him to be a soldier."
Paul learned to be strong. So can BYA! (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) "He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you.' For my 'strength' is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Messiah may rest on me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, reproaches, necessities, persecutions, distresses for Messiah's sake. For when weak, then I am 'strong' ('powerful, mighty, able to bear calamities and trials with fortitude and patience)!"
Consider Yah's many other strong and courageous Believers: (Hebrews 11:32-34) "What shall I more say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, Barak, Samson, Jephthae; David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens."
Do you wish to be strong and of a good courage? Then trust in what YAH provides and rely upon Him: (Hebrews 13:5-6) "Let your conversation be without covetousness. Be content with such things as you have. For He said, 'I will never leave you, nor forsake you.' So that we may boldly say, 'Yahushuah is my helper. I will not fear what man shall do to me.'"
When we abide (live) according to the Word, then we are strong: (1 John 2:14) "I have written to you, fathers, because you have known Him from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong and the word of Elohim abides in you, You have overcome the wicked one. Love not the world, nor the things in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him."
This study closes with Paul's exhortation: (Ephesians 6:10-18) "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord (Yahushuah) and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of Elohim that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, spiritual wickedness in high [places]. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of Elohim that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of Elohim. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints."
May BYA be strong and of a good courage! And, may everyone find all their strength, hope, courage, and confidence in Elohim. Shalom, Elder Curt