I was drawn to meditation this morning upon reading some of Moses’ last words: his encouragement of Joshua before he assumed leadership of Israel as they prepared to enter the Promised Land.
And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it. And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.
Deuteronomy 31:7, 8
Going into an unknown circumstance, as was Joshua and the children of Israel, can cause one to fear, worry about all of the “what ifs” involved. Moses did for Joshua what we need to do for one another when we are facing new or unknown situations. He pointed him to the Lord. He exhorted Joshua that he could be confident in what ever lied ahead of him because “the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee…he will not fail thee.” Paul later gave a very similar encouragement to members of the early church, “If God be for us, who can be against us.” (Romans 8:31b)
Of course all true Believers know this. But what caught my attention was the word “dismayed.” This word comes from a Hebrew word that means “to break down, either (literally) by violence, or (figuratively) by confusion and fear.” (Strong’s) The mental health profession speaks of people having a “mental breakdown” when they are overcome by the challenges of their life and “give up” to their circumstances. And we have all heard of war stories of soldiers being “broken” by their captor’s persecutions and forced to do something under great duress that they would not do under normal circumstances.
Moses was telling Joshua that, regardless of his circumstances, the enemy’s assaults, or any unknown and, perhaps, great challenges he might face, and regardless of what personal weakness or inadequacy he might feel, he would not be overcome, defeated, i.e., “broken down,” so long as he remembered that “the battle is the Lord’s,” (1 Samuel 17:47) and not his.
So should we be encouraged. He who is “Faithful and True” (Revelation 19:11) has not changed. He is the same sovereign, omnipotent God He has always been. He is the King of kings, the LORD of lords. Nothing, nobody can defeat us as we trust in Him. He will not, He cannot, fail us.
So I remind you today of what the Holy Spirit through Paul told Timothy who was being confirmed in a new leadership role with all of its “unknowns,”
…God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
1 Timothy 1:7
I don’t know what your personal challenge is today, but I know the Lord who loves you. You can trust in His omniscient, all-loving guidance to make “all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28a) as you love Him, and rest in His wisdom and grace. So, children of the living God, walk in confidence and peace, for our Savior has told us
…Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned;…For I am the LORD thy God…Fear not: for I am with thee:…. Isaiah 43:1b-5a
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