Monday, October 24, 2016

Be strong and of good courage

Have you ever stood before something that seemed so large, so massive, that you were sure you'd never succeed? Maybe it was the trial of a sick child, or a lost job. Maybe your marriage is struggling, or your own health is compromised. Maybe there are problems in your extended family that yo simply don't know how to resolve. Maybe you stand and look at parts of the world we live and and feel like it's heading towards the crapper.

Times like these we may feel overwhelmed, filled with doubt, riddled by fear.

I image that's how Joshua was feeling when he was given charge of the thousands of Israelite nomads. There he was, left with a ginormous group who'd traveled in circles in the wilderness for 40 years, waiting for the time they could claim their promised land. Their beloved leader, Moses, had just died.  And now . . .NOW was the time the Lord chose to have Israel take Canaan. 

He's a better person than me, because I would have probably looked at the Lord and said something like, "Really?" You've had four decades with Moses in the lead. Four. And now, he's gone. And you want to me to lead these people whose diet has been manna foreverrrrrrrr and take over Canaan? Maaaaybe not the best idea."

I'm assuming the Lord knew that Joshua would be a little hesitant or afraid, for before Joshua could even begin to protest, the Lord encourages him three times to be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:6,7,9), He knew that what He was asking Joshua to do was big and scary--daunting even. And yet, it had to be done. Sometimes the promises of the Lord are handed to us, and other times, as this, it requires our reaching. And boy was He asking Joshua and his people to reach.

But, here are two really beautiful promise the Lord gave Joshua:

"As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee; I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee" (vs 5)

and this one:

"The Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest" (vs 9).

Oh how I love those promises!! Joshua must have as well, becasue after the Lord asked him to do perhaps the most difficult thing he'd done in his life, there was no argument, no rebuttal, no bartering. He simply went and did it, trusting that God would keep His promises.

And He did.

It's the same with us.

Sometimes He asks us to reach for blessings; and sometimes we have to reach through some really dark or scary things to get them. But, we can find strength and courage knowing that our Lord is with us; He will not fail us or forsake us. Wherever we go, He will be there too.

I don't see it as Him standing beside us and, pointing to a mountain spewing volcanic lava, saying, "Go over there. I've got something for you. I promise, it'll be worth it."

No, I see Him standing beside us, pointing to wherever we need to go, and saying, "Come. Let's go together. I have something wonderful for you."

Sisters, the Lord is with us. He won't forsake us. We need not fear if we look to Him. 

Let us be strong! Let us have good courage. Let us go and conquer the cities set before us. Let us claim the promises He has for us.

Let us believe our Lord when He says, "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid: neither be though dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest." 

And then let's go.

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