God has set before me a task that I don’t feel equipped for or even adequate for right now (I’m sure you will hear more about this in the near future). I was feeling particularly burdened one evening after talking to some family about this new calling. They were not as supportive as I had hoped and a couple tried to discourage me from taking this path. Since I had been struggling with this decision for several weeks and was finally feeling more secure in my decision, hearing these words of disagreement hit me hard. I found myself in tears that night, struggling between what the world (and nearly everyone in it) wanted me to do and what I felt God was calling me to.
I prayed for God to give me insight and grabbed my Bible with a bit of ferocity, determined to seek his will alone. I thought about where to read and decided to keep on my same track in the Old Testament that I have been on in my usual nighttime routine, currently that was Deuteronomy (yep, explains my recent posts). Chapter 31 was next in line so I started in. What I read caused the tears to flow and internal shouts of thankfulness to God to explode within me.
Moses was passing on his leadership of the Israelites to Joshua and was encouraging him for this very large and important task. I’m sure Joshua did not feel fully equipped or even adequate for this role (sound familiar), but God had decided it was his and assigned it to him. Here are the words Moses spoke to Joshua:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deut. 31:6.
“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deut. 31:8
These words were like healing salve to my heart. How I needed confirmation of God’s care for me and the knowledge that he goes before me in everything he calls me to. I never walk alone, I never have to dread or be in fear since he is there.
I also needed to hear the direct commands to be strong and be courageous. These are commands, not suggestions or far hopes that Moses had for Joshua. No, he told him, “Just do it!” BE strong, BE courageous. Don’t shy away from this assignment, it is yours and I am with you in it. These words are for you today too.
When we choose to follow God and be obedient to him, we have not stepped into an easy task. Do not get visions of praying away your worries while guardian angels clamor to keep you safe and God pours blessing after blessing on your head. Sorry…it doesn’t work that way.
When the Holy Spirit grabs your heart and you accept Christ and choose to live for God, it is an awesome decision! It is the best and most important decision you will ever make in all of eternity. However, it is the very first in a long line of decisions to follow. Although the event of salvation (justification) is a one-time occurrence, the task of following Jesus is a continual and active process needing daily effort. To put it another way, we make continual choices of whether to follow God or the world every day. We need to be ready and equipped to choose wisely.
A final word of warning, when you read the book of Deuteronomy, two words will stick out to you. Those words are “be careful”. They are used over and over by Moses in this book. They are used to keep the people aware of the need to follow God’s commands always. One example, 12:28 “Be careful to obey all these words that I command you, that it may go well with you and with your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God.”
Ladies, I continue to plead with you to choose God every day, choose to serve him wholeheartedly and with confidence. Not in yourself but in him. When God calls you to a task, and you know it is his will, get moving on it. Walk in strength and courage, being careful to know and follow his commands that we find in his Word. My enCOURAGEment to you today… BE strong and BE courageous!