Joshua 1


Howard W. Hunter

Several experiences in the life of Joshua are instructive to us today regarding the importance placed by the Lord on keeping commitments and on being committed to following the commandments and direction he has given.

Joshua is remembered as the one who, on the death of Moses, took command and completed the task of giving leadership to the tribes of Israel. Perhaps to comfort Joshua, who now had the responsibility for the children of Israel, who didn’t yet have a homeland, and perhaps to comfort that large body of people who had just lost their leader of more than forty years, the Lord spoke to Joshua and said:

As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. (Josh. 1:5–8)

…Finally, we have this last reiteration by the Lord of what he had previously said, to comfort and to remind Joshua of the relationship between the blessings of heaven and obedience to divine law:

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 whithersoever thou goest. (Josh. 1:9.)

Joshua would need courage for what he had to do. He would need the Lord’s help at every step. Here is a commitment of the Lord to provide that help. With faith in the Lord, Joshua could now go forward, knowing that the Lord would direct him in the way he should go. Joshua knew that his obedience would bring success, and although he did not know exactly how he would succeed, he now had confidence in the result. (“Commitment to God,” Ensign, Nov. 1982, 57)

Joshua 1:5 I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee

Thomas S. Monson

The list is endless. In the world of today there is at times a tendency to feel detached—even isolated—from the Giver of every good gift. We worry that we walk alone. You ask, “How can we cope?” What brings to us ultimate comfort is the gospel.

From the bed of pain, from the pillow wet with tears, we are lifted heavenward by that divine assurance and precious promise “I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

Such comfort is priceless as we journey along the pathway of mortality, with its many forks and turnings. Rarely is the assurance communicated by a flashing sign or a loud voice. Rather, the language of the Spirit is gentle, quiet, uplifting to the heart, and soothing to the soul. (“Look to God and Live,” Ensign, May 1998, 53)

Joshua 1:8 the book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth

Ezra Taft Benson

Searching the scriptures is not a burden laid upon [us] by the Lord, but a marvelous blessing and opportunity. Note what the Lord Himself has said about the benefits of studying His word. To the great prophet-leader Joshua, He said:

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Josh. 1:8; italics added.)

The Lord was not promising Joshua material wealth and fame, but that his life would prosper in righteousness and that he would have success in that which matters most in life, namely the quest to find true joy. (See 2 Ne. 2:25.)…

Today the world is full of alluring and attractive ideas that can lead even the best of our members into error and deception… Success in righteousness, the power to avoid deception and resist temptation, guidance in our daily lives, healing of the soul—these are but a few of the promises the Lord has given to those who will come to His word. Does the Lord promise and not fulfill? Surely if He tells us that these things will come to us if we lay hold upon His word, then the blessings can be ours. And if we do not, then the blessings may be lost. However diligent we may be in other areas, certain blessings are to be found only in the scriptures, only in coming to the word of the Lord and holding fast to it as we make our way through the mists of darkness to the tree of life. (“The Power of the Word,” Ensign, May 1986, 81-82)

Marion G. Romney

Note that Joshua was to “meditate therein [upon the law] day and night,” an important step in understanding the scriptures.

—The story of Israel is one long series of heights and depths, lights and shadows. Both the people and their civilization rise and fall as they search and obey or neglect and reject the law of the scriptures.

Following the Babylonian captivity, one of the first things the humbled Jews did upon their return to Jerusalem was gather “themselves together … [and direct] Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses … before the congregation. … And he read therein … the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading” (Neh. 8:1–3, 8).

—Isaiah’s counsel was to test familiar spirits and wizards by the teachings of the scriptures.

“To the law and to the testimony,” he said, “if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:19–20). (“Records of Great Worth,” Ensign, Sept. 1980, 4)

Joshua 1:9 Have not I commanded thee?

D. Todd Christofferson

In preparing these remarks, I typed the words of the Lord to Joshua as found in the King James Version of the Bible, and my computer’s grammar correct function tried to “fix” a particular phrase. Jehovah, in reassuring Joshua that He would ever be with and strengthen him, asks this question, “Have not I commanded thee?” My computer wanted to “correct” “Have not I” to “Have I not.” You may think that this is a distinction without a difference, but I still prefer the way my Bible puts it. When my computer speaks, the emphasis is on “commanded”—“Have I not commanded thee?”  When the Bible speaks, the focus is on the fact that it is Jehovah, the Lord, who is issuing the command (or better said, the calling). Jehovah is emphasizing to Joshua that his calling came from above—“Is it not true that I, Jehovah, have put you where you are? It’s not your good idea or somebody else’s good idea. I, Jehovah, have done this; it is my idea; therefore, you can count on me to help you and see you through.”

Whose idea was it that you would come to this fallen world, gain a physical body, and have a mortal experience? Whose idea was it that you would be born where you were born and now, in this dispensation? You did not come up with this plan and you did not put in place the things necessary to make the plan work.

God says to each of us, “I planned, I created, I commanded, I called you for this time and this place.” Yes, you had to agree. You had to be on board. God would not, could not, and did not force any of this upon you. But you did agree, and now you are here because of God’s command or call to you. Isn’t the Lord saying to you as he said to Joshua, “You and your life are part of my divine plan, therefore, I will be with you ‘withersoever thou goest,’ including BYU-Idaho.” P.S. “Only be thou strong and very courageous.” (D. Todd Christofferson, “Be Strong and of a Good Courage,” BYU-I Devotional, 16 May 2023, available online at:

Joshua 1:9 be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed

The 2010 theme for the Young Men and Young Women of the Church comes from Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee witherseover thou goest.”

Young Women General Presidency

The 2010 theme invites us to “be strong and of a good courage” (Joshua 1:9). Strength and courage are attributes of leaders. As a member of the Church, you are a leader in the cause of virtue and righteousness.

Our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, has called for us to have courage:

“Great courage will be required as you remain chaste and virtuous amid the accepted thinking of the times.

“In the world’s view today there is little thought that young men and young women will remain morally clean and pure before marriage. Does this make immoral behavior acceptable? Absolutely not!”

Your courage to lead will come as you live the standards, make correct choices, and follow the prophet. Your strength will come as you strive daily to increase your testimony of the Savior by praying and reading in the Book of Mormon. Your strength to lead others will come as you live the standards found in the booklet For the Strength of Youth. As you do these things, you will feel good about yourself. You will have confidence, and you will grow in spiritual strength.

And don’t forget to smile! Have a positive attitude. “Let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God” (D&C 123:17). Knowing what is right and wrong is always possible (see Moroni 7:16), and you are promised that the Holy Ghost will tell you “all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:5). As you study, listen for the guidance of the still, small voice. You have the promised assurance that “by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things” (Moroni 10:5).

Whatever your circumstances, you were born to lead in your family, in your school, and in your community. So this year, be strong, have courage, and make a difference in the world! You are not alone. Heavenly Father will hear and answer your prayers and guide your actions as you remain pure and worthy of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. (“Have Courage: Lead Out in the Cause of Virtue!,” New Era, Jan. 2010, 6)

Young Men General Presidency

Have you ever been worried about measuring up to a task? Imagine how Joshua might have felt as successor to the great prophet Moses. The heavy responsibility to lead the people of Israel into the promised land fell to Joshua. Remember that the promised land was occupied by numerous Canaanite nations, many of which were fearsome and warlike. Can you imagine that Joshua may have felt unsure of his abilities to accomplish such a daunting task, maybe even afraid?

In the space of four verses in the first chapter of Joshua, the Lord commands Joshua to be strong and courageous—three times! (see verses 6–9). Then the Lord promises Joshua that he will succeed in bringing the Israelites to their land of inheritance, that strength and courage will come to him because of his obedience to all the law, and—most significantly—that the Lord will be with him wherever he goes.

The 2010 Mutual theme is the third instance of the Lord’s call to Joshua to “be strong and of a good courage” (Joshua 1:9). That same call to courage is yours. And the same promises are yours as well. With the Savior’s help, you too will succeed in your callings and in your life. You will have strength to withstand any temptation as you obey the commandments and keep the standards found in For the Strength of Youth. As you honor the priesthood and each week renew the covenants you made at baptism, you can have the Savior’s Spirit with you—always.

There were many unknowns facing Joshua. He didn’t know how he would be able to bring the children of Israel into the promised land, but he trusted in the Lord. You face challenges in your life. You might be one of the few members of the Church in your school or even in your family. You might feel isolated or discouraged or afraid. You might feel uncertain about your future in these troubled times. But be of good courage. The Lord is with you. You can trust in Him. He will help you succeed. (“Facing Challenges with Courage,” New Era, Jan. 2010, 7)