“Then Moses went out and spoke these words to all Israel: ‘I am now a hundred and twenty years old and I am no longer able to lead you. The LORD has said to me, ‘You shall not cross the Jordan.’ The LORD your God Himself will cross over ahead of you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you will take possession of their land. Joshua also will cross over ahead of you, as the LORD said. And the LORD will do to them what He did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, whom He destroyed along with their land. The LORD will deliver them to you, and you must do to them all that I have commanded you. 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.” Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, ‘Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the LORD swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.’”
Have you ever been in a place where you felt inadequate and even afraid? You are not alone. Even the great men and women in the Bible were not superhuman, and they too experienced some levels of apprehension and doubt. The fact is, though Joshua was a strong military leader, he too felt inadequate in looking to fill Moses’ shoes. Imagine that? Moses talked with God face-to-face, performed amazing miracles, and led the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage. Not a bad track record, and here, Joshua is to take over and lead them into the Promise land.
But before we try to imagine such a task, we have to remember that Moses didn’t start out as the mighty man he would ultimately become. In fact, when God first called him, he focused on his own short-comings, and begged God to find someone else (Exodus 4:10-13). But time with God has a way of changing who and where we are into something amazing. This is precisely why we read, “Be strong and courageous” (Deuteronomy 31:3). Moses knew precisely where Joshua was at that moment, and more importantly, he knew what Joshua would become.
Listen, confidence for God-given challenges never comes from within, at least of ourselves. But when we believe the Lord, and rely on His Word and strength, He will give us the ability and courage we need to accomplish what He asks.
Think about it this way, if life were always easy, we would never need strength and courage – let alone God – and we would miss every great opportunity to get to know the Lord intimately. You see, as we face ‘faith-stretching’ challenges, and depend upon God, we experience His faithfulness and favor unlike any other way.
God did not fail Joshua, and He will not fail us. What He desires is that, whatever we face, we are confident we never face it alone – God is with us.