"Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you He will not fail you or forsake you."Deuteronomy 31:6(NASB)
For 40 years, Moses led the Children of Israel as they wandered through the wilderness. The generation that witnessed God's mighty power in the land of Egypt, celebrated the Passover when the angel of death slaughtered the firstborn in Egypt, walked through the Red Sea on dry land, and saw the great, Egyptian army sink beneath into a watery grave, lived a defeated life through murmuring, complaining, unbelief, and pride.
Israel's unbelief in God's Word prevented an entire generation from entering the Promised Land. But as the time for Moses' death drew nearer, a new generation of Israelites were given an opportunity to believe God's Word, trust the promises of God, enter the Promised Land, and live a victorious life of faith instead of a defeated life of unbelief and doubt.
Having reminded them of their history and the promises of God, the time arrived for Moses to give God's people their final instructions. He told them that the Lord Himself would be with them on their journey. He would cross over the Jordan before them and destroy all the nations that were already in the land. Joshua, God's appointed leader, was to cross over before them and God would destroy their enemies as he had done during their desert wanderings: "Only be strong and courageous," they were commanded, "do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the One who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you."
The God of Israel challenged His people to be strong and very courageous, but He also entreated them not to fear their enemy, for He would be with them. No matter how terrifying their circumstances or how powerful their foe appeared, they were not to tremble with fright but to trust in the Lord with all their heart. And Moses reassured them that the Lord would be with them always, to lead and to comfort, to support and help them, no matter where they went or what they did.
As we trace the history of Israel through the pages of Scripture and witness His gracious guidance, the strength of His arm, His protective power, and mighty works, we must always remember that this is the same God Who reassures us that His grace is sufficient in every life-situation that we may meet, no matter how difficult and problematic it may appear - for His Word stands fast for all His people: "For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you He will not fail you or forsake you."
This same God has equipped us with His indwelling Holy Spirit Who is there to lead and to guide, to support and to help. We are simply to obey His instructions and be strong and very courageous. Just as He did with His people, Israel, the Lord has challenged us to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His mighty strength. What greater reassurance could the Lord offer to those that have placed their trust in Him?
After being rescued from Egypt's tyranny and Pharaoh's slavery, and having been baptised into Moses (i.e. separated unto God as His peculiar nation), the Israelites were led for many years through their wilderness walk, learning the lesson that all God's children must learn if they are to reach maturity, with a faith that trusts His Word and obeys His command.
In like manner, Christians have also been brought out of the world and saved from Satan's kingdom of darkness. We too have been baptised into Christ, separated unto God and placed in His Body as His peculiar people. We are not to draw back in unbelief but to press on for the high calling we have in Christ Jesus. And like Israel, the Lord will take us through long years of child-training and painful growing pains so that we too will become mature in the faith, trust His Word, and obey His command - even on those occasions when we do not understand.
And as we continue on our journey through life, we will be required to face even greater challenges and more rigorous difficulties. But we are to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power, by putting on Christ and standing firm by abiding in Him, knowing that His grace is sufficient for the greatest challenges we may meet, and being fully assured God is the one Who is going with us, for He has promised, "I will never leave You nor forsake You, even to the consummation of the age."
Thank You, loving Father, that You never change. Help me to abide in Christ, knowing that His grace is sufficient for every challenge in life. May I learn the lessons You desire to teach me so that I may mature in the faith by trusting Your Word and obeying Your commands. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.
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