Scripture: Joshua 1:1-9
Key verse: (9) “I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Reflection: After Moses died, Joshua, a man who is described in scripture as full of the spirit of wisdom, was chosen by God to lead God’s people into the promised land. Here in the beginning of the book of Joshua he is repeatedly charged by God to be strong and courageous. The people were facing a big challenge and were preparing for the unknown. They were frightened and dismayed. God instructed Joshua to keep his eyes forward and not be distracted because the “LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” In the first chapter of this book, Joshua reminded the people of God’s promises to them. He called on the people to hold on to their faith in the LORD, knowing that God was with them. There was a promise of success if they would meditate on the book of the Law day and night and not depart from it. Joshua was the new leader, Israel was about to cross the Jordan, and life was about to change.
There have been many times in my life when these words from the LORD have encouraged and sustained me – times when life was changing and I was following God into a “new land”. I believe we are living in such a time now as our lives have changed and been challenged by COVID 19. This public health pandemic has cost people their lives, their livelihood and their dreams. It has driven those who are the most vulnerable in our community to the verge of despair. It has changed how we recreate, work, socialize and worship. There is anger, frustration and grief. And, yet, I have seen people of faith be strong and courageous knowing that no matter what happens God will be with them. I have seen people devote themselves more fully to the practice of their faith through devotion and service. I have seen incredible generosity as people have reached out in love to people they know and don’t know. I have seen the dedication of those in hospitals, service industries, and social services work tirelessly to provide for everyone. So many people around us are showing courage as we move forward into the unknown. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, yet, we can be strong and courageous in the midst of our fear, because we know that the LORD our God is with us. This promise made in our text is still the promise God makes to us today and every day. I hope and pray the LORD will give you the strength and courage you need.
Prayer: Almighty God, we turn to you in our uncertainty and fear knowing that you have promised never to fail or forsake us. Help us to move into this new season with courage knowing you are with us. Strengthen our faith as we continue to serve you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].