April 21, 2021·Kristin Gentry
“And the Lord will do to them what He did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, whom He destroyed along with their land. The Lord will deliver them to you, and you must do to them all that I have commanded you. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. 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. 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.”
— Deuteronomy 31:4-8
This portion of Scripture comes right after the Lord gives Israel an ultimatum. They could choose to follow Him and be obedient, guaranteeing provision, life, and victory – or – they could choose to follow their own plan to their own demise. But what I love about these verses in chapter 31 is that the Lord is speaking as though victory is already what the people of Israel have chosen.
I appreciate that these verses make it very clear that the people of Israel would no doubt face times that would be so horrifically terrifying that they would want to turn back, to throw in the towel and just give up — and so the verses repeat: Be strong. Be courageous. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged. The Lord Himself will be with you.
Haven’t we all faced circumstances that despite how clearly we hear the Lord’s voice, we look at our situation and are tempted to either run for the hills or try to do things our own way? I know there have been times in my walk with the Lord that I might look at what’s ahead and ask the Lord, “Are You sure about this?” And I’ll be honest, I don’t have a perfect track record about being totally obedient to the Lord. There have been times where I have either tried to do things my own way or I’ve tried to avoid it all together, and it never turns out favorably. But I also know what it’s like to be obedient and follow the Lord into some pretty scary seasons, and so I have the benefit of seeing and knowing that God is faithful to keep His promise. He never left me. He never gave up on me.
Maybe you’re in a season where you’re facing some really challenging things and you’re tempted to throw in the towel and give up on following God. May I encourage you with this: “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” (Deuteronomy 31:8). Victory is already ours! 1 Corinthians 15:57 says, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” We only need to trust Him.
Father, we thank You for the victory You have made possible through your Son, Jesus Christ. We thank You that even though we fail, You make a way. Holy Spirit, teach us to hear Your voice and trust You in all things. Amen.
Pastor Kristin Gentry