“Have not I commanded thee?
Be strong and of a good courage;
be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed:
for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest”
But one day while I was contemplating this verse some things jumped out at me and hitting me over the head as if saying, “Look!” The first of thing that struck me was that this is not simply good advice, it is a commandment from the Lord. It is a command to not fear, and to not get discouraged. But even the command not to be fearful seemed strange. To me having courage meant to be brave and so did not being afraid. Why the redundancy? And why did the Lord find it necessary to define courage with the adjective good? Is there such a thing as bad courage?
It took me awhile, but I finally discovered that at the time the King James translators were translating the Bible the word courage meant “feelings and passions of the heart” and not bravery. Thus any emotion was courage, and so the Lord is charging Joshua (and us) to only have good feelings in our hearts.
But that presents a big problem. How can we go through our days with the media, other people saying and doing things and only let the good feelings into our hearts? Don’t bad feelings sometimes overpower us? The answer to that is in the last sentence. The reason we can do it is because the Lord is with us where ever we go or whatever we do. Despite the bad and evil in the world, we can cast it all away because we know there is a Savior who will eventually heal this world and all the righteous in it.
Understanding this charge to only let good feelings into your heart is a powerful Truth Tool. It can be used in time of vexation by simply repeating the words, or as a preventative Tool to recite every day in order to avoid vexation. I have rewritten the charge in modern English and put my own name in it. I have it laminated and carry it around in my wallet where I can refer to it any time vexation starts to overwhelm me. I also have it on a mirror that I see every morning. I have found that there is a power I can literally feel envelop me every time I simply recite the words out loud.