READING: Deuteronomy 30-31, Mark 15:1-25
“It is the Lord who goes before you.”
Let me get straight to the point today. Over and over again, God commanded Joshua to be strong and courageous as he prepared to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land:
- “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them.” (Deut. 31:6)
- “Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deut. 31:8)
- “Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the sons of Israel into the land which I swore to them.” (Deut. 31:23)
With God on his side, Joshua had no reason to fear, no reason not to trust Him, and no reason to fall. He would experience victory not because of who he was, but because the Lord his God had promised: “The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you” (Deut. 31:8). Furthermore, He said that He would not fail or forsake them (Deut. 31:6, 8). Beyond those statements, just the simple phrase, “He will be with you” (Deut. 31:8) should have been enough to give courage. “God is with me” should be sufficient to calm every nerve and erase every fear.
Nevertheless, the repetition of phrases like, “Do not fear or be dismayed” (Deut. 31:6, 8) reminds us that even Joshua must have been tempted with fear at times. It’s easy to trust God when you’re the key speaker in the next county’s revival service, but it’s not so easy when enemy armies have rallied against you. Joshua needed to hear these words recurrently in times of peace so that he would cling to those words in times of conflict. What he heard from the Lord today would be critical for him in the future.
I may be “preaching to the choir” here, but do you read and digest the Word of God regularly enough that you can turn to it quickly in times of turmoil? Do you trust the God who is bigger than any giant you face in your own land? Do you believe that He is with you, goes ahead of you, and will walk with you even unto death and beyond? Have you decided this day to “choose life in order that you may live” (Deut. 30:19)? If so, testify to your choice “by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him” (Deut. 30:16). You won’t regret your obedience to the One who goes ahead of you.
- Strive to not be afraid at all today.
- The Lord is with you. So, rejoice!
PRAYER: “God, turn my heart toward You. Give me courage no matter what I face today.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Deuteronomy 32-34, Mark 15:26-47