We are living in a strange time right now. Global pandemic, social distancing, not being able to spend time with our loved ones like we would like to, losing jobs, isolation that leads to anxiety, depression, etc. It seems the odds are stacked against us, like everything that can go wrong is going wrong. It may feel as if God has taken a step back. It may feel like He is not at work in the world right now, but friends have faith!
He is at work. He is moving even in a time that may make it seem like He is sitting still. As is written in Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” All that is happening is according to His perfect will. We just need to have faith.
We can see examples of faith all throughout the Bible. Whether it be King David when he took down Goliath because he had faith that God was on his side, or Daniel when he was thrown in the lions’ den for praying to God in Babylon, or the woman in the New Testament that had such faith in the power of God that simply touching the hem of Jesus’ robe healed her bleeding. We can also see it in the book of Joshua.
Joshua was Moses’ assistant appointed by God to lead the nation of Israel to the Promised Land after Moses died. Joshua had a lot on his plate. It wasn’t like Israel was just going to walk across the Jordan and find free land. No, they were going to have to take it from the people that lived there, just as God said they would.
Joshua 1:1-4 says, “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.’”
Now, I don’t know about you, but if I were Joshua here, I’d be freaking out. Think about it. Your leader of the last 40 years has just died, and now God has left you in charge of hundreds of thousands of people with the task of taking this Promised Land God had set aside for the kingdom of Israel. But Joshua didn’t freak out. No, he willingly obeyed God. He had faith in God. He probably doubted himself, just as Moses had when he questioned why God chose him, a murderer and lowly shepherd, as the one to confront Pharaoh and free the Israelites from Egypt. But Joshua had faith. Why? Why did he have faith? Let’s continue with verses 5-9.
“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 had faith in God because God commanded it. He believed that God was good, because God said He was good. Let’s read verse 9 again. “Have I not commanded you?” God commands that we be strong and courageous in Him, trusting him, having faith that He is good and will provide for us what He promised. In Joshua’s case, it is the Promised Land. In our case, it is the salvation received through the death and resurrection of His son, Jesus Christ, an all sufficient sacrifice for our sins. God commands that.
Why? Because He means it. If He didn’t mean it, He wouldn’t promise it. He promised Noah he would never destroy the Earth in a flood again, and last I checked the Earth hasn’t been destroyed by a flood recently. He promised Abraham in Genesis 26:4, “I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands. And in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.” Then God gave him Isaac, and Isaac had two sons (Jacob and Esau), and Jacob fathered 12 sons who would become the fathers of the 12 tribes of Israel.
He promised Jesus would come from the lineage of King David in 2 Samuel 7:12-13. “When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” God makes good on His promises. That’s why we should have faith.
In fact, God makes a promise to us at the end of verse 9. “Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” God is promising here that he is with us wherever we go in whatever we do. He will be our strength and our courage when we find ourselves in any situation.
I personally have to remind myself of God’s goodness. All the time I have doubts in my own abilities. I doubt whether I’m good enough for God. I doubt that I will be able to fulfill the calling He has placed on my heart to pursue youth ministry. I question if maybe I’m just making it all up. Maybe it’s not what I’m supposed to do. I’m afraid of the future. But then I think back to verse 9 and I know God is with me.
I think of Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” I hear these promises God makes and I have faith that He is guiding me and that all He does for me is good. He will provide what I need when I need it and He will put me in situations to prepare me for the life He has planned for me.
So again, I want to encourage you to have faith in the Lord. He is good and His will is perfect. This season we find ourselves in is different, challenging, and new to everyone, but we have a God that is greater than anything this world has to throw at us. In Him we find peace, we find joy, and we find strength to carry on. Just have faith.