After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 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.” Joshua 1:1-9 ESV
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident. Psalm 27:1-3 ESV
Sometimes, for example when a class graduates from school or perhaps at other occasions, an important person will give a speech. The speech usually includes words or encouragement to not be afraid and to face the future. In 1941 Winston Churchill was the prime minister of the United Kingdom, and his country was involved in a terrible war, World War II. He gave a speech to the students at Harrow School which included these words, “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never–in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” These words have become famous words of courage and hope.
After Moses died and Joshua had been commissioned to lead the people of Israel into the promised land, God gave Joshua words of courage as well. Joshua and the people knew that there were many battles ahead of them with people who were stronger than they were. So God told Joshua to be strong and to have courage. God had something more to give his people than Winston Churchill. God could promise that he would always be with them, no matter what. He could promise that they would win their battles because he was on their side and had promised to give the land to them.
We also have God’s promise that he will be with us no matter where we go or what happens to us. God came to be with us in Jesus, our Savior. Jesus lived with his people as a human being like us. He died on the cross and rose again so that our sins could be forgiven. Through Jesus God has promised that he is on our side and that he will bring us safely to the heavenly promised land. In Jesus, we can always trust God’s promises.
Dear Jesus, thank you for loving us, forgiving us, and being with us always. Amen.