Be strong and courageous;
don’t be terrified or afraid of them.
For the Lord your God is the one
who will go with you;
he will not leave you or abandon you.
// Deuteronomy 31:6 CSB
This encouragement we find in Deuteronomy is meant for a specific people – the Israelites – as they changed leaders (Moses to Joshua) and headed into battle for the land promised them. It is a rally cry!
If we go back to the beginning of chapter 31, we find Moses giving instruction, essentially marching orders.
Then Moses continued to speak these words to all Israel, saying, “I am now 120 years old; I can no longer act as your leader. The Lord has told me, ‘You will not cross the Jordan.’ The Lord your God is the one who will cross ahead of you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you will drive them out. Joshua is the one who will cross ahead of you, as the Lord has said. The Lord will deal with them as he did Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, and their land when he destroyed them. The Lord will deliver them over to you, and you must do to them exactly as I have commanded you.
Marching orders from the Lord for Moses: “You will not cross the Jordan”, you have completed your calling.
Marching orders for the Israelites: Allow the Lord to go before you. Allow Joshua to go before you. And then the Lord will deliver the enemies over to you as you follow my commands.
Even with these words of assurance, the Israelites were terrified of what was to come.
They were afraid of “them”.
And in their story, “them” was the very real enemy they were preparing to go to battle with.
As we read this incredible chapter, we can derive meaning for our own battles.
Who is your “them”? Who – or what – is causing fear to churn in your heart? What is holding you back from trusting the Lord in your battles?
May your battle cry be “The Lord goes before me, I am not afraid”
as you face your fears and trust God through the battle.