What does Deuteronomy 3:28 really mean?

Deuteronomy 3:28 is about Moses encouraging Joshua to not be afraid or discouraged as he will lead the Israelites into the promised land as appointed by God.

28 But charge Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he shall go over at the head of this people, and he shall put them in possession of the land that you shall see.’


Setting the Scene for Deuteronomy 3:28

In Deuteronomy chapter 3, we find Moses addressing the Israelites as they stand on the plains of Moab, just before they are about to enter the Promised Land. The scene is set against the backdrop of the Jordan River, with the majestic mountains of Moab in the distance. The Israelites have been wandering in the wilderness for forty years, and now they are on the cusp of fulfilling God’s promise to their ancestors.

Moses, the revered leader of the Israelites, stands before the people, his face radiant with the presence of God. He recounts the victories that the Lord has given them over their enemies, including the recent defeat of the Amorite kings, Sihon and Og. The Israelites listen intently, their hearts filled with awe and gratitude for God’s faithfulness.

Among the crowd are Joshua and Caleb, two faithful spies who had explored the Promised Land years earlier and had brought back a good report, despite the doubts of the other spies. They stand as a testament to unwavering faith in God’s promises. As Moses continues to speak, the Israelites are filled with hope and anticipation for the future that lies ahead as they prepare to cross over the Jordan River into the land flowing with milk and honey.

What is Deuteronomy 3:28 about?

Imagine being Moses, standing before the towering task of handing over leadership to Joshua. Your life’s work, guiding the Israelites to the promised land, is drawing to a close. What would you say to Joshua, the one who would now bear the weight of leading your people into their destiny? You’d want to impart courage, strength, and faith in his abilities. This verse serves as a poignant reminder to Moses, urging him to take a moment to bolster Joshua’s spirit as he steps into this monumental role.

Encouragement is a powerful force that can propel individuals to overcome challenges, self-doubt, and adversity. This verse emphasizes the vital role support and belief play in leadership transitions by reminding Moses to “be strong and of good courage.” You, as a teacher, understand the significance of nurturing and empowering the next generation. Moses urges to impart strength and courage to Joshua, ensuring a seamless transition of leadership and a continuation of the journey towards fulfilling God’s promise to the Israelites. This verse encapsulates the essence of mentorship, resilience, and faith in the face of transition and change.

Understanding what Deuteronomy 3:28 really means

In the book of Deuteronomy, we find Moses addressing the Israelites as they stand on the cusp of entering the Promised Land. In this pivotal moment, Moses is given a specific instruction – to encourage and strengthen Joshua, who is destined to lead the people into their inheritance. The phrases used in this verse carry profound meanings that resonate beyond their immediate context. When Moses is told to “encourage” Joshua, it speaks to the need for emotional and spiritual support, to uplift and reassure him in his leadership role. “Strengthening” Joshua goes a step further, emphasizing the fortification of his resolve and readiness for the challenges that lie ahead.

Joshua’s role as a leader is highlighted in the directive that he will go before the people, setting an example of courage and leadership. His task is not merely to lead but to guide the Israelites to inherit the land promised to them by God. This verse echoes themes found in other biblical passages, such as Joshua 1:9, emphasizing the importance of strength and courage in leadership. Similarly, 1 Timothy 4:12 underscores the significance of setting an example for others, mirroring Joshua’s leadership style.

The relevance of this verse extends to contemporary times, reminding us of the essential principles of leadership and mentorship. Just as Moses was called to support Joshua, we are also tasked with nurturing and guiding those who will step into leadership roles after us. In a world where challenges abound, the need for courage and strength remains constant. Whether in personal, professional, or spiritual spheres, we are all called to face challenges with fortitude and encouragement, much like Joshua did.

The assurance of God’s presence, as highlighted in Hebrews 13:5-6, serves as a source of comfort and strength for leaders in any context. Imagine a scenario where a young professional is promoted to a managerial position for the first time. In this situation, a seasoned manager acts as a mentor, offering guidance and support akin to Moses encouraging Joshua. This anecdote illustrates the importance of mentorship in fostering effective leadership and ensuring a smooth transition of responsibilities.

In conclusion, Deuteronomy 3:28 encapsulates a timeless truth – the significance of providing encouragement and strength to those in leadership roles. By uplifting and supporting future leaders, we contribute to the continuity of important missions and ensure that they are well-equipped for their responsibilities. This principle, rooted in biblical wisdom, remains as relevant and vital today as it was in the era of Moses and Joshua.

How can we let go of fear and trust God fully?

To let go of fear and trust God fully, we can focus on the meaning of the verse in Deuteronomy 3:28, which emphasizes the importance of not being afraid or discouraged. This verse encourages us to trust in God’s faithfulness and promises instead of allowing fear to overwhelm us. We can find the strength and courage to let go of our fears and place our full trust in God by understanding that He is with us and will never leave nor forsake us.

Additionally, we can let go of fear by reminding ourselves of God’s sovereignty and control over all things. Instead of allowing our fears to consume us, we can surrender our worries and anxieties to God, knowing that He is in control and has a perfect plan for our lives. Trusting in God’s wisdom and understanding can help us release our fears and place our confidence in Him completely.

Furthermore, building a strong relationship with God through prayer, reading the Bible, and surrounding ourselves with a supportive community of believers can also help us let go of fear and trust God fully. We can cultivate a deep sense of trust and reliance on God by drawing near to Him and seeking His presence daily, knowing that He is always faithful to guide us and lead us on the right path.


Don’t let fear hold you back in life. Reflect on your hesitations and find the courage to step into the blessings waiting for you. Trust that God is by your side, fighting your battles. Are you prepared to conquer your fears and bravely walk towards your destiny?