“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
My Father and my God, when you instructed Joshua to be strong and courageous as he led your people into the land of promise, you assured him that you would be with him. He would not be alone, and would not do battle in his own power. His strength and courage were to grow in his heart not because of his greatness, but because of yours.
Only a river separated him from a nation that, on paper, he had no chance of defeating. Surely he would question his call to such a seemingly impossible task. Even as Peter looked at the waves and found himself sinking, so Joshua would be tempted to look at the enemy and lose heart. But you told him that you would be with him. Your presence and power would sustain him. And so he was commanded to be strong and
courageous—a strength and courage that would have to flow from faith.
Father, as I consider your call on my life, I know that your Spirit is instructing me with the same command: be strong and courageous. I do not face Canaanites, but I do face other enemies and other challenges that feel just as overwhelming. And each one requires no less faith in your presence and power than it took Joshua to lead Israel over the river to fight. You were with him. And you have promised to be with me…even in me.
And yet the most significant aspect of Joshua’s command does not apply to me, but to you, Jesus. You are the ultimate Joshua. As Moses was used to deliver the Israelites from the enemy in Egypt and as Joshua was to lead the people against another enemy in Canaan, you have faced sin and death and proved faithful in victory. Jesus, it is your strength and courage in the cross that has saved me. Apart from your Spirit within me, I am all weakness and fear.
How desperately I need your presence and power, and how I thank you that it is available in the gospel. Yes, having such a strong and courageous Savior gives me the faith from which my own weakness is turned into strength and in which my fear gives way to courage. Father, this day I will face people who will intimidate and circumstances that will overwhelm. May I know your presence and power. Your presence to fill me with a sense of your love and acceptance, and your power to give me the ability to believe, to repent, to encourage, to listen, to confront, to love, to forgive, to persevere, to hope and to pray.
Yes, I am utterly dependent upon your grace. Your grace that saves and your grace that enables me now to follow where you lead. Because Jesus was forsaken in my place, I will never be forsaken. You will always be with me wherever I go. Help me to be so mindful of that wonderful promise. Let me never feel alone, but always, and especially today, know your presence and your power.