Dec 31, 2012

Don't Be Discouraged

After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them - to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates - all the Hittite country - to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your provisions ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.’” 

Of all the people in the Bible, Joshua might be one of the last we'd expect to need encouragement.

Years earlier, Joshua and Caleb stood their ground against an angry mob that was ready to pummel them to death with rocks. A number of spies had just reported that it would be impossible for the people to conquer the land of Canaan. The giant inhabitants of the land had powerful weapons. But Joshua and Caleb countered, ‘Don’t be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us’ (Numbers 14:9). Although this speech did not convince the frightened Israelites, Joshua and Caleb did not back down.

Given Joshua's courage, why did God need to tell him not to be terrified or discouraged? This was now about 40 years later, and Joshua was no longer facing fellow Israelites. Now he would need to lead an army of Israel against the Canaanites, who would fight to the death to protect their land, possessions, and families. The real battle would begin.

Yesterday's courage can’t be saved for today's challenge. But God's faithfulness is new every morning.

Believe in Jesus and know that the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Don’t be terrified. Don’t be discouraged.

Father, sometimes we’re afraid and discouraged. Thank You that You are our refuge and strength. Help us to remember that You are always with us. In Jesus' name, amen.