ReadingsJoshua 1:1-18 and Acts 8:1-25

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

“God is With You”

Be strong and courageous. Sometimes those words are easier to say than to live, aren’t they? I can remember, as a young teen, having to walk from our church to my grandparent’s house at night. It was only about four or five blocks. I learned how quickly I could cover that route as twigs snapped and acorns fell to the ground around me!

Strong and courageous? I don’t think I was. But I am also sure, as I ran that short distance there was also a lot of praying taking place. And that is where my strength and courage came from.

Whether it was those few short blocks or my journeys in life, I have tried to remember that God is with me wherever I go. There have been many times in my life that this assurance helped me face difficult challenges.

No, we probably are not facing a challenge like Joshua. His mentor had just died. This was the man that God spoke to directly! And now Joshua is given charge of leading God’s people into the Promised Land. He is to eliminate the people that live there. This is the land God promised His people going all the way back to Abram. This was the hope of those captive for so many years in the land of Egypt. They were home at last!

It is also the land, when they first left Egypt almost forty years before, that God was ready to lead them into. But the report came back that there were giants in the land. Those same giants still lived there! What had changed? For one, the people.

None of those who were afraid to enter before were going to enter the Promised Land. The children and grandchild of those people would be entering. They were ready. They had seen how God provided for them. The land was theirs!

But there is also the reminder for these people, a reminder that would need to be spoken over and over again. It is a reminder that we need to keep before us, also. The reminder is that it is not us. It is not about us. What takes place is God’s action.

God will send His army before the people to defeat the enemy. The Children of Israel needed only to trust God and follow Him and they would be victorious! They needed to remember the promise and that they were children of the Promise!

God has made us a promise, too. When Jesus ascended into heaven He told us that He would be with us always, even to the end of the age (see Matthew 28:20). He promised to send us a helper, the Holy Spirit, Who is poured out upon us in the waters of Holy Baptism. He has even told us that, when we are to give defense of the faith in which we believe He will provide the very words we need to speak. How are those for promises!

And, the good news about God’s promises is, when He makes one, He never backs down on it. He will always do what He promises.

So, as we go into the world, let us go armed with the Word of God. Let His Word be part of our meditation – day and night. May we follow where He leads, letting Him be our guide. In Him, surrounded by His angel army, there is nothing to fear. As you stand in His presence you are able to do so with great strength and courage, for it is the Lord Who holds you up, and sends you forward to do His work.

 

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, when fears seek to overtake us, when Satan tries to overpower us, let us turn our eyes to You. Reveal to us the power of Your angel army that surrounds us as we go about our daily task of reading Your Word and sharing the hope of the promises You have given us, especially the promise of life with You forever in the eternal Promised land of heaven. Amen.