• Today's Daily Devotion
Be Strong and Courageous
The congratulatory letters poured into Gen. George Washington’s mailbox in the summer of 1775. As commander-in-chief, Washington was the man of the patriot hour. It ...

Be Strong and Courageous

The congratulatory letters poured into Gen. George Washington’s mailbox in the summer of 1775. As commander-in-chief, Washington was the man of the patriot hour. It didn’t take an astute politician to know that Washington could bestow favor, or he could take it away. He could make men’s military careers, and he could break them.

The letters he received had about as much in common as the men who wrote them. They came from governors, friends, military officers, colonial leaders, and others of General Washington’s social stature. Most were pledges of support and best wishes for victory. These men uniformly addressed Washington as “your Excellency” and concluded with the common colonial salutation, “Your most obedient and humble servant.”

One letter stands out for its message.

SIR, Suffer me to join in congratulating you, on your appointment to be General and Commander-in-Chief of the troops raised, or to be raised, for the defence of American liberty,” Jonathan Trumbull began his letter to Washington. “Men, who have tasted freedom, and who have felt their personal rights, are not easily taught to bear with encroachments on either, or brought to submit to oppression. Virtue ought always to be made the object of government. Justice is firm and permanent.”.

Trumbull then described the “rigor and military force” artfully imposed by “His Majesty’s ministers.” He believed the colonies were “driven to an absolute necessity” to defend their rights militarily.

This letter next demonstrated such spiritual strength it could have been written by the most eloquent preacher in Boston. But it was a political leader, the governor of Connecticut, who penned this courageous prose.

He explained why he was writing. Congress had proclaimed a fast throughout the colonies. They were “to stand before the Lord in one day, with public humiliation, fasting, and prayer, to deplore our many sins, to offer up our joint supplications to God, for forgiveness, and for his merciful interposition for us in this day of unnatural darkness and distress.”

Trumbull noted that God had directed a wonderful union among them. Then he made his strongest point: “Only be thou strong and very courageous (Joshua 1:7 KJV),” he wrote, seeking to encourage Washington through the blessing Joshua received when God made him commander of the Israelite army.

“May the God of the armies of Israel shower down the blessings of his Divine Providence on you, give you wisdom and fortitude, cover your head in the day of battle and danger, add success, convince our enemies of their mistaken measures, and that all their attempts to deprive these Colonies of their inestimable constitutional rights and liberties are injurious and vain,” Trumbull concluded prayerfully.

Jonathan Trumbull knew that George Washington would need Joshua’s blessing to make an impossible mission possible. He understood the value of strength and courage.


Lord, may I remember to be strong and courageous today, knowing you have promised to be with me.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”

(Joshua 1:9).

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