Neither Dread Nor Dismay!

“‘The Lord your God himself will go over before you. He will destroy these nations before you, so that you shall dispossess them, and Joshua will go over at your head, as the Lord has spoken… And the Lord will give them over to you, and you shall do to them according to the whole commandment that I have commanded you. Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.’

“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 that 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.’” Deuteronomy 31:3,5-8

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?.. Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus… is at the right hand of God,.. interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?.. I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:31,33-35,38-39

Cruel, godless nations, entrenched in the land of promise, posed a formidable opposition to this new leader of Israel. Moses the great would soon die, and upon his installation as successor, Joshua received the best encouragement one could: God would do the work. He would lead, He would be with them, He would destroy. And as Joshua led his people to displace the enemy, he need not fear nor dread nor be dismayed, for God was on their side.

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This same God is with us, our Immanuel, Jesus, abiding with us, praying for us always, our Advocate and Defender. We face daily the looming ‘nations’ of temptation, cruel hardship of disease and heartache, strained and broken relationships, destitution. But in all these things, God is for us. In all these things, His love will never leave us. In all these things, He reigns and conquers and comes alongside to direct, protect, help, and comfort. (Matthew 1:23; John 14:16,26; 16:33)

What enemies loom today? What lures to ignore things that need reparation, to dismiss those who need love, to yield to the pull of the world’s glitz, to give in to pride, or fear, or sloth? Would we recognize God’s call to arms, and set forth saturated in His promises, undaunted on His mission? He is greater and stronger than any foe we face. (1 John 4:4)

Lord, keep me ever alert to Your voice, trusting Your might, willing to be and go and do and battle in Your name and power. To You belongs all my trust, and all praise for Your victories.

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