The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.
The book of Deuteronomy is drawing to a close and the life of Moses with it. God summons Joshua and Moses to the tabernacle so that God can commission Joshua and, with that commission, deliver a prophecy about the faithlessness of the Israelites. They will turn away and they will worship other gods despite having seen the LORD do awesome things — seen these things with their own eyes. Joshua will later throw down the gauntlet and tell the Israelites to choose whom they will serve. This will be at the end of his time as leader.
With the bad news on his mind, Joshua hears this morning’s words from Moses.
The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you. You know that you are walking into a place where there are giants; where the people outnumber you by a significant margin; where the people are going to be faithless. Despite all of these obstacles, know Who it is that goes before you. If this were going to be attempted in your own strength and ability, then you would be best served to hang it up before you got started. But it is not you who has gone ahead to scout positions and prepare the field for battle, but God.
He will be with you. Not only has God gone on ahead to get things ready, but He will walk beside you. When you need counsel, He will speak with you. When you are weak and need someone to lean on, He will be there. As you obey and do as He has commanded, He will be present.
He will not fail you or forsake you. Things may look hopeless. In fact, the very first city with which the Israelites will do battle after crossing the Jordan is Jericho. The walls of Jericho might as well be the walls of Troy. There is no human way of getting past those walls. But God has promised to drive the people out before you and He will not fail you. There will be times when you are not sure how God is going to come through, but He will come through. He will not fail you or forsake you.
Do not fear or be dismayed. Sure, it may sometimes look bleak and things may not go well, but do not be afraid. God is still going on ahead of you to prepare the way. God is still with you to keep you in the way He has prepared. God will not fail you. God will not forsake you. With those promises in mind, do not be afraid or lose heart.
So goes Moses’ instruction to Joshua. And the same things can be said to all believers. God still goes before us and walks with us. God still holds Himself to the promise never to fail or forsake us. God is still as described in this morning’s verse. He has not changed.
In light of that, I should not be afraid of the future or of what is around the corner. God is already there. I should not be lose heart when it seems that God is not answering my prayers, because He has not left me or forsaken me. I do not always understand His silence — why He refuses to answer — but I understand that He will not fail me or forsake me. And that should be enough.
Father, I know that I have sometimes been fearful; sometimes dismayed. I also know that You are good to Your Word and that You have promised never to leave me or forsake me. You will not leave me a spiritual orphan, but will always remain my Father. Thank You for Your faithfulness.