“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.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
Who is “them?” For the Israelites, in this passage “they” were the people occupying the Promised Land the Lord was about to give them on the other side of the Jordan. Moses is exhorting the Israelites – and especially Joshua – not to fear the coming battles they would fight to gain what the Lord had promised.
In our own lives, “they” can be the daily battles and struggles we must face. For many of us, “they” can be an addiction to things like alcohol or drugs which harm us in body, mind and spirit. Or “they” can be our defects in character that we work to tame so we do not hurt others with our spite, jealousy or sharp, gossipy tongues.
For some “they” are life circumstances to overcome, be it poverty, prejudice, illness or loneliness.
There is always a “they” with which we must do battle. Everyone is a foot soldier in life somehow.
But the good news that first Moses and then Jesus after him proclaimed is that God is with us in these battles. When we call upon him in our needs, he will not leave us or forsake us.
Often we forget to bring God into battle with us. Even taking them into the Promised Land, God knew his people would in future turn away from him and forget to call upon him.
In a culture that encourages us to be “self-actualized,” we can easily think that we create our own reality and are masters of our own fate.
But at some point for everyone this philosophy breaks down. We all will one day meet a trial or tribulation that we just can’t power through alone.
Good news: we don’t have to. God will be there for us, in the midst of our greatest fights. All we need do is remember and ask for his help.
“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.” (Psalms 31:25)