“But command Joshua, and encourage him and strengthen him . . .”
— Deuteronomy 3:28
Have you ever had someone encourage you when you felt low or defeated? Remember how that encouragement rejuvenated you, giving you a fresh desire to persevere?
Nothing could uplift us more than the encouragement of a friend or loved one. Encouragement is the oxygen of the soul. Having run two miles, a person may need to pause to catch his or her breath before running another two. Similarly, a person facing a formidable task or even the wearying routines of life needs to pause for encouragement before tackling the work ahead. Encouragement fortifies the laboring soul.
In Deuteronomy, God instructed Moses to commission Joshua and to “encourage him and strengthen him; for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which you will see” (Deuteronomy 3:28). Why did Joshua need such encouragement? Because God assigned him the great task of leading the Israelites into the Promised Land. God knew Joshua would need all the encouragement he could get, and He knew Moses could best give it. When Moses led the Israelites, he faced discouragement again and again: when he confronted Pharaoh, when he came to the Red Sea, and when the Israelites lamented their lack of meat in the desert. In desperation Moses cried out to the Lord, explaining that the people were too big a challenge for him. Having had these experiences, Moses readily obeyed God’s command to encourage Joshua for the task that lay ahead.
Like Joshua, we all need encouragement, especially after our greatest defeats when doubt and discouragement set in. So be oxygen to the souls of those around you, strengthening them to persevere for the kingdom of God. Encourage others with God’s promise to work good in all things.
Who can you encourage today?