Only The Strong Survive


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.

Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.

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.

Joshua 1:6-7; 9, KJV

Joshua was strong.  He had to be. In order to lead Israel out of the wilderness and into the Promised Land, he had to be strong, or he would not survive. Because only the strong survive.

Joshua was the No. 2 in Israel – Moses’ right hand man.  He was right with Moses for over 40 years, aiding and assisting, listening and learning, watching and waiting – waiting for his time; waiting for his turn to lead to come. And come it did.  When Moses died, Joshua was installed by God Himself. However, all of the years of apprenticing and training would mean nothing if he was not strong.

Joshua was strong in every way.  He had a strong presence and he had a strong core; he had a strong will and he had a strong way. He had motivation and determination, inspiration and revelation; all were needed in combination to make and keep him strong.

What is the answer to lasting and abiding strength?  Nehemiah told us that “The joy of the Lord is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).  We are not strong in and ourselves. We cannot maintain strength on our own. We need an inner abiding source, an ever flowing stream of reserves that will sustain us through every battle and every brawl; through every fight and every fracas; through every scrap and every scrape. Through thick and through thin, we need the power of the Holy Spirit to see us through.

Allen Iverson called himself “The Answer.”  To my surprise, he wore the tattoo “Only the Strong Survive” on his left arm. All of Philly loved Iverson because he was rough and tough; he was certainly no cream puff. Yet Iverson, as hard as he played and as much as he made himself do and give and sacrifice, was not the answer. He did not win the NBA Championship he sorely wanted, even though he came close.

Jesus is the answer. Growing up in Philly we sang “Jesus is the Answer for the world today, above Him there’s no other Jesus is the Way.”  These words by Andre Crouch are even more true, if that is even possible, as the years go by. “The Lord is our strength and song, and He also is become our salvation” (Isaiah 12:2).  Don’t depend on yourself or anyone else for strength; you and those you think will help you will fail you every time.

Jesus is the answer and He is the answer you have been looking for. He is your strength. Horatio Palmer penned the words of the great hymn and gave this testimony: “This song was an in­spir­a­tion. I was at work on the dry sub­ject of ‘The­o­ry,’ when the com­plete idea flashed up­on me, and I laid aside the the­o­ret­ic­al work and hur­ried­ly penned both words and mu­sic as fast as I could write them.”   Jesus is not just theory, he is our practice.

To be strong, do as the hymn writer did: “Ask the Savior to help you.”

Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin;

Each victory will help you some other to win;

Fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue;

Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.


Ask the Savior to help you,

Comfort, strengthen and keep you;

Jesus is willing to aid you,

Jesus will carry you through.

Shun evil companions, bad language disdain,

God’s Name hold in reverence, nor take it in vain;

Be thoughtful and earnest, kindhearted and true,

Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.

To him that o’ercometh, God giveth a crown;

Through faith we shall conquer, though often cast down;

He Who is our Savior our strength will renew;

Look ever to Jesus, Jesus will carry you through.

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