In reading through Deuteronomy, Moses reminded the whole nation and Joshua in particular of a couple of vital truths. Notice what Moses said to Israel in Deut. 31:6
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Moses wants the nation to remember their relationship with God and how his presence will ensure their safety and victory. The presence of God should give them courage and strength rather than fear and dread.
The word for “courage” is describing “the ability to deal with danger without flinching” (Logos). The word “strong” is referring to strength beyond what we can do naturally. The assurance of God’s partnership with the nation as they take the Promised Land should allow them to act fearlessly even when circumstances indicate otherwise.
This same encouragement is given to Joshua, who was to take the leadership role from Moses when he died. As the leader of this growing nation in the midst of overwhelming transition, Joshua must be strong and courageous. In fact, Deut. 31:8 says it this way,
“It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
The more I thought of this; it reminded me of how the same concepts are recorded of David’s charge to his son Solomon as he was to become king in David’s place. Notice how this is stated in 2 Chron. 28:20,
“Then David said to Solomon his son, ‘Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the LORD God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the LORD is finished.’”
Finally, I thought of the words of Jesus when he spoke to his disciples after the resurrection in Matt. 28:20 as he told him to make disciples in all the world,
“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
I remember hearing Dr. Dallas Willard share his alternate translation of this text. He said it means, “I am with you every minute of the day until the job is done!”
All of these reminders have shown me again, that God’s presence is what brings success. God being with us should give us courage and strength no matter how challenging life appears or the task at hand. This is also true of the disciple of Jesus today. Jesus promised he would be with us every minute of the day as we live for him and seek to expand his kingdom. This certainly does not mean that my life will be without challenges, suffering or problems. Jesus told us following him would include all of these things, and we see that in the lives of his disciples in the New Testament. But, living life with him means I can live the way he desires and accomplish the tasks he has for me even though that may not include some of my plans and dreams.
Father, thank you for the reminders of your presence with those you put in leadership and those with whom you have expectations (your disciples). Help me to live life in the confidence of your presence regardless of my circumstances. Thank you for walking with me today!
Following Jesus with you,