Fear not for God is with us
Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7-9
Forty years earlier, ten of the twelve spies told the Israelites that they would not be able to enter the Promised Land for it was inhabited by powerful warriors. One of those who stood against the assessment of these spies was Joshua. By the time God gave Joshua these words of encouragement he was now called upon to succeed Moses. He was given the task to lead the nation of Israel into the Promised Land. The words from our text is one of the greatest expressions of reassurance provided by God from His word. The task before Joshua would surely involve an insurmountable struggle. No doubt, Joshua was anxious by the prospects of standing against a strong army. In the midst of this apprehension, the Lord spoke words of encouragement to him. The same encouragement still ring true for us today. With God’s assurance of His presence, Joshua obeyed and the people of God reached the Promised Land. It was his faith and courage that he boldly took up the call of God. If he did not obey and listened to God, the Israelites could have remained wandering in the wilderness. Like Joshua, we are confronted with challenges daily that seem to push our faith to the breaking point. And yet, it is through adversities that we experience God’s working that lead to growth in our faith. “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow” (James 1:2, 3). When you decline following Him because you ascertain that what He is asking from you is too difficult and risky, the results can be devastating to your spiritual growth. You have to ponder upon the amount of consequences because of disobedience. You will never become the person God wants you to be and you will find it difficult to discover His will for your life. You will not grow in your faith and you will find that your life is governed by fear. Are you in some way resisting following God’s call and His will for your life? Just like Joshua, you will discover that once you obey, the Lord is dependable. “I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return” (2 Timothy 1:12).
Noel De Guzman