Watering: 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… 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.”
Joshua was stepping into very big shoes. He had been Moses’ faithful follower and a great student. In all ways, he had learned to put his faith in God Almighty and not the arm of man. But now God tells him it’s to be his arm and he’s the man; the playing field is changing and he’s being “promoted.”
How weak-kneed he must have felt.
I love that God answers the prayers of his heart before they are even uttered. I love that He cuts through any seedlings of bravado and brings the Truth straight to the need:
“Be strong.” Joshua must have felt weak.
“Take courage.” Joshua must have felt scared and discouraged.
“Be very courageous.” Joshua must not have thought he heard correctly!
“I will never leave you and I will never forsake you.” Joshua obviously needed reassurance.
I can just hear the heart of God talking gently to Joshua:
I’ve got this, Josh. Really. And in case you are not quite sure about all this, here, listen to those I’ve asked you to lead. They are my echo to you:
“Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you as he was with Moses…Only be strong and courageous!”
But honestly, what I love most is God never asks Joshua to be like Moses, and he never says,”Get out of your comfort zone.”
No, instead, the God of all comfort, speaks life and hope to Joshua. He speaks strength to his weakness, peace to his fear and assurance to his doubt. God doesn’t ask Joshua to leave the safety of his comfort, rather, he asks him to walk into it:
“I will never leave you and I will never forsake you. Follow me.”
Comfort is found
walking beside the Comforter.
So how does this story fit into my spiritual wardrobe? How do I learn from Joshua’s lesson?
I can be scared and weak-kneed
oh so powerful in Him.
Jesus has given me everything I need for this God-given life.
He will not lead where his spirit has not gone before or does not guard from behind.
He sees, understands and fathers my need.
I can step forward into the God of all comfort, who gently coaches from behind, “This is the way you should go,”
I can follow behind the Good Shepherd who leads and never leaves.
I am known
– and loved –
by the One who calls into being
the things that are not.
“Be strong” Bam! There is strength.
“Be courageous!” Bam! He brings courage.
“Don’t be afraid.” Bam! Fear is gone.
“Don’t be discouraged!” Bam! Discouragement must leave.
I am not loved by a god who says, “I am with you only if you go here, or don’t stumble there, or only take that next step, or else…”
No, I am loved by a risen, living, hugging kind of Savior who says,
“I am with you wherever you go.”
I have all the comfort I will ever. possibly. need.
Lord, today, I will listen to your words to Joshua, to me.
Today, I will awaken this dawn with thankfulness for your love and faithfulness that are. so. sure.
Today, Jesus, help me be your encouragement for others, “shoving” them only by prayer into the zone of your comfort.