As I was reading through Deuteronomy 31, I was impressed when Moses spoke to the nation on his 120th birthday! He knew that he would be unable to enter the Promised Land and was giving his farewell address to the nation and to his successor, Joshua.
If I were Moses, what would I want to make sure Joshua and the nation knew I was about to die and Joshua was to take my leadership role?
First Moses tells the people as a whole to “be strong and courageous, ” and then he tells Joshua the same thing (Deut. 31:6-7). As I thought about those words which were meant to encourage, I tried to place myself in the shoes of the listeners. This sounds like a “rah rah” pregame speech of a football coach as they were getting ready to play a superior opponent. The excitement and adrenalin from such a speech can only last so long. If I were the listeners and thought about this charge from Moses, I think I would eventually get overwhelmed and possibly, even discouraged. Why?
The task at hand for the nation was to conquer all the people already residing in the promised land! That meant months and years of warfare, struggle and extreme challenge. Then, if I were Joshua, thinking I need to now lead these rebellious people to accomplish this task, I would have doubted my ability to complete the job.
That is why Moses said more than just “be strong and courageous.” Second, notice he also explains why they should be strong and courageous. He said, “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.”
What so encouraged me this morning was the reminder that if God calls us to accomplish great things for him, he will also be with us to enable us to achieve those things. In fact, this reminded me of what Jesus said at the end of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20), where he gave the charge to make disciples of all nations. He concludes with, “I will be with you always, even to the end of the age.” An alternate translation would be, “I am with you every minute of the day until the job is done.”
Jesus has called us to follow him and live a life of faithfulness to him while becoming like him so we can help others do the same. This task is too big for me to accomplish, but knowing that he is with me to enable me to do these things, gives me hope and the courage to press on.
Father, thank you that you are always with your followers. Thank you that you want to give me the ability to become the person you designed me to be. Forgive me for forgetting this truth. You are with me and will enable me to accomplish what you call me to do. Victory is not based on my ability. I just need to trust you to help me and then take the initiative. I yield to your leadership and ask for your enabling to make that happen in my life.
Following Jesus with you,