“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid,…for the Lord your God is the One who goes with you. He will not fail or forsake you…” (Deut.31:6)
As Moses passed his mantel on to Joshua, he spoke these words to both the Israelites and then directly to his successor. Again, after Moses passed away, the Lord, Himself, repeated the same words to Joshua multiple times.
Why the repetition?
Why was it so important for Joshua, and those who were to follow his instruction, to hear this exhortation and encouragement over and over in such a short span of time?
Yes, they were preparing for immense battle where they would be commandeering the land which the Lord had promised them. Indeed, that would be an ominous task for anyone – yet I think the Lord knew they needed encouragement for a deeper reason.
Consider where they were coming from and where they were headed.
First, Joshua would need this personal encouragement in order to fill the enormous shoes of Moses. Would the people respect, trust, and listen to him? Would he be able to accomplish the task set before him in the lingering shadow of such a great leader? Further, how would he know how to lead an army into battle when he’d never been part of one, nor had he ever seen an army general in action. Bless his heart; the closest thing to battle Moses ever encountered was having to deal with the rebellious attitudes of whining wanderers for forty years. Which leads to the second, and I believe, most prevalent point.
These people needed to hear God’s repeated words of encouragement because there was no boot camp, no previous armies to pattern themselves after, no weapons, no strategies passed down for generations. Men who had been wandering in the wilderness were now asked to become warriors overnight.
Wanderers to warriors.
Wandering was a way of life – a pattern they’d become so accustomed to that I can’t imagine the jolt this commission into battle must have been. But, it was their time – the season of wandering was over – and God was going with them… They had nothing to fear.
Their God would not fail or forsake them.
Wander to warrior. Where does life find you right now? I’ve had prolonged seasons of wandering, myself, such that the thought of donning my spiritual armor seemed like a distant memory and an impossible future. But, friend, if you find yourself there, those doubts are the whispers of an enemy who has already been defeated. You need not wander any longer. There is One who promises to be the strength that you cannot find and the defense that you fear you may not have. Further, He promises He will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5) – just as He promised Joshua and the Israelites that He would go with them – never failing them. Be strong and courageous – if our God is for us, then who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
It’s time to set aside our fear, our apathy, our distractions, and every other thing that detains us in the wilderness.
Today is your day.
He will not fail you.
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