“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
These encouraging words come from a section of the book of Deuteronomy where Moses is giving instructions to the people of Israel before they go into the Promised Land. The people are assembled by the Jordan River and Moses is recounting how God has led them out of the land of Egypt and protected them in the wilderness. The people of Israel had stood at this same place 40 years earlier. At that point, Moses had sent 12 men across the Jordan to spy out the land. When they returned, 10 of them gave a report of all the dangers in the land; “the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large” (Numbers 13:28). Oh, and there are giants in the land. Two of the spies, Caleb and Joshua, reported that the land was flowing with milk and honey and that they should go into the land because the Lord was with them. But the Israelites did not go forward; their fear kept them from the promises of God.
Now here they are again 40 years later, and Moses is preparing Joshua to lead the people of Israel into the land God had promised them. What has changed? Not the risks. The people who dwelled in the land were still strong, the cities were still fortified, and there were still giants in the land. Why were Joshua and the people of Israel ready to go forward into the land that God had promised? They had seen God go before them for 40 years. They had experienced God with them; He did not leave them or forsake them, even when they made mistakes. God was faithful and they could trust Him.
We may not face challenges like the people of Israel as they entered the Promised Land, but like them, we may still be afraid and apprehensive. Like the people of Israel, we have God’s promises to rest on. He will not forsake us or leave us, and He goes before us. As Paul wrote in Romans 8:31, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Thought for the day: What about you? Do you have challenges ahead and you know you should move forward but are afraid? Today’s verse says, “Do not fear or be dismayed.” Why? Because He has promised to be with us and to never leave us or forsake us. In whatever problems we face, we can trust God.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to trust You. Help me to remember Your promises when I face trials and I am afraid. I know that You are with me and that You will never leave me. Thank You for your promises. Amen.