Sunday, January 13, 2019
7 Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. 8 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Winter doldrums. Gray skies and snow storms. Chilling cold that settles in your bones. There’s a reason our snowbirds head South for the winter. But then I read these words of Moses to Joshua on the eve of crossing the Jordan into the Promised Land. Be strong and courageous.
We can become discouraged in the midst of winter, for it can seem endless. For the people of Israel, they were afraid and discouraged because they had wandered so many years, waiting to find their promised home. Because of the people’s faithlessness, God would not let them enter, and even Moses could not step foot in this new land though God permitted him to see it from a distance. It was like an endless winter for them.
But now Moses was turning over the reins of leadership to Joshua. He told Joshua to be strong and courageous as they entered the Promised Land. Know that God is going before you and with you. God will never leave you forsaken. Do not be afraid or discouraged, no matter what hurdles you will face ahead.
These are good words to hear, whether I am struggling through yet another gray and cold winter’s day, or whether I am worried about something that lurks ahead of me in the future. God is there to lead me, and God is walking beside me with his arm around my shoulders to give me strength. When I know this and can trust God’s promise to be with me, I am confident. I can throw off my discouragement to be filled with courage. I may give God the praise today and every day.
Holy and merciful God, let me grow in faith and trust. Help me know that you are always there. Let me turn to you and wait for your leading when I do not know which way to turn. When I am discouraged or downhearted, keep me close to you. Thank you for listening; help me to listen to you. I give you all praise in Jesus Christ, Amen.