It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. (Dt. 31:8)
Moses knows he will soon die. One of his last acts is to put the mantle of leadership on Joshua. Joshua is overwhelmed because there had never been a leader like Moses.
What had Moses done? Confounded Pharoah. Led the Hebrews through the Exodus. Received the law from God. Vanquished foes. Stopped plagues. Is it any wonder Joshua would question if he could follow such a leader?
In today’s words, Moses wants to turn Joshua’s gaze away from his fear to God’s faithfulness. He’s trying to reassure Joshua by saying that just as God had always been faithful before, so God will remain faithful moving forward.
Like Joshua at this critical juncture, we have moments when we wonder if we have what it takes to do the next big and important thing in our lives. That new job, that new challenge, that new opportunity: Do we have the right stuff?
What does Moses say to Joshua? “Joshua, God will go before you. God will be with you. God will never fail you or forsake you. Because God is with you, have no fear, no trepidation, no worry.”
What does today’s passage say to us? The same. Whoever you are, whatever you are facing, there is a Promised Land—a better and deeper and stronger reality—that’s before you. Some Promised Lands are external and professional; some are more relational and personal. We need not enter these lands by ourselves. We often can’t do the work on our own. But we don’t need to. God is there. God goes before. God will not forsake or fail us.
God spoke these words of encouragement through his servant Moses to Joshua. God speaks these same words to us. Joshua believed in God and he did indeed lead the people into the Promised Land. Just as God kept His commitment of strength and support for Joshua, so He will do the same for us.
- If you have ever felt like Joshua in today’s reading—intimidated, overwhelmed, anxious? If so, what were the circumstances and how did you respond?
- Is there a new Promised Land—new endeavor, service, role, challenge—before you now? If so, how do you respond? If you don’t see one, is it possible that you are being willfully blind?
- Given that your functioning and making a difference right now is a testimony that God has not failed or forsaken you, how would your life change if you never doubted, questioned, or worried about God doing so in the future?