Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
God had been with Israel thus far. That was very evident, and they understood that. But now things were changing. Moses was gone. They were leaving the wilderness and the wanderings behind. Joshua was taking a new role. But God would be with them still. He is with us in all of our changes. His presence isn’t limited to one time or place. He would be with Israel now, with Joshua leading and in the promised land, as He was before, with Moses leading in the wilderness.
So often it is the unfamiliar that causes us to fear. Change can be scary. And in a way, Israel had an idea of what was coming, having spied out the land and heard what God had told them was awaiting them, but it would be something they’d never faced before. What Joshua was facing was difficult, a burdensome thing, even, as he took on this new responsibility. And now it was time to go forward. They could not stop on that edge once again and refuse to cross. And once they did, nothing would ever be the same.
How can we be strong when we face these new and fearsome situations? How do we have courage to move ahead into the unknown? How can we be fearless in the face of something we’ve never done before? By keeping our minds on the fact that God is with us and trusting and believing that it is so, by knowing God so near to us. We can know that, as He has been with us before, He will continue to be with us. Everything else may change, but that never does.
It doesn’t matter where we go, because God is with us no matter where it may be. We don’t have to worry about wandering away from His presence. We don’t have to be afraid to obey, because God is with us in those things He calls us to. He knows our path and each footstep along the way. We don’t have to be afraid because we can rely on His strength. So let us take courage, knowing God is before us, beside us, and behind us as we go in obedience.