“Then Moses summoned Joshua, and said to him in the sight of all Israel, be strong and courageous for you shall go with this people into the land the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall put them in possession of it. 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.”
What a promise, like put yourself in Joshua’s shoes. You’re about to succeed Moses, who led God’s people out of slavery and Egypt, who led them through the Red Sea, who led them through meals, bread from heaven, and water from rocks. Who led them to Mount Sinai and went up on the mountain to meet with God and got the 10 commandments. Who led them to construct the tabernacle. Who’s led them all these years to this day.
We praise you for being with us, never leaving us, and going before us in every way.
He’s handing it over to you and you’re about to go into this land that God has promised, but this land that if you’ll remember an entire generation prior, Joshua had seen was a formidable land with people in it that would be challenging to battle with. And you’re about to go into that land leading God’s people. You don’t think there was fear in Joshua’s mind and heart. You don’t think there was trepidation. There was concern, worry, all the kinds of emotions that you and I are familiar with in our lives. Fear, worry, anxiety, not knowing what the future holds, feeling overwhelmed. And God says through Moses to Joshua, be strong and courageous. 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. And we always have to be careful when we read verses like this in the Old Testament, not just to immediately take them out of context and apply them to our lives in ways that may or may not have been intended for our lives.
But this is one of those places where it’s clear. Jesus reiterates this same promise in the great commission. I will be with you always to the end of the age. We see this promise from God to his people all over scripture, Old Testament and New Testament alike. And so be encouraged today. I just want to pray this over you immense fear, anxiety, worry, concerns, weariness. Amidst any way you might feel overwhelmed or uncertain about the future. God, I pray that your child right now, your son or your daughter, I’m praying over would know that you are with them and that you will never leave them. You will never forsake them. I pray that they would know oh Lord, that you go before them. You know the future. You not only know the future, you ordain it and you promise that you’re working all things together right now for the good of those who love you, trust you, and are called according to your purpose.
And so I pray over them oh God, that you would be their strength and their courage. When they feel weak, be their strength. And may they feel weak in a sense all the time, because they know that when they are weak, you are strong. Be their courage oh God. Encourage their hearts today by your word and deliver them from all fear, and anxiety, and worry, knowing that you love them, you hold them and everything around them in the palm of your hands. And you are good and trustworthy.
God, I pray this over them even as I praise you for these realities in my own life. We praise you for your love for us as your people, especially in a world where we are prone to fear, and worry, and anxiety, where we are so often overwhelmed, and tired, and feel alone. We praise you for being with us, for never leaving us, and forgoing before us in every way. And especially in our obedience to your great commission. God help us to make disciples of all the nations right around us, far from us, knowing that you are with us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.