August 30, 2008

Do Not Be Discouraged

Joshua 1:1-11

“Be strong and courageous… For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9


Of all the people in the Bible, Joshua might be one of the last we'd expect to need encouragement. Years earlier, he and Caleb stood their ground against an angry mob that was ready to pummel them to death with rocks. A number of spies had just reported that it would be impossible for the people to conquer the land of Canaan. The beefy inhabitants of the land had powerful weapons. But Joshua and Caleb countered, “Do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us” (Numbers 14:9). Although this speech did not convince the frightened Israelites, Joshua and Caleb did not back down. Given Joshua's courage, why did God need to tell him not to be terrified or discouraged? This was now about 40 years later, and Joshua was no longer facing fellow Israelites. Now he would need to lead an army of Israel against the Canaanites, who would fight to the death to protect their land, possessions, and families. The real battle would begin. Yesterday's courage cannot be saved for today's challenge. But God's faithfulness is new every morning. Believe in Jesus and know that the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Do not be terrified. Do not be discouraged.

Sometimes I am afraid and discouraged, Lord. Thank you that you are my refuge and strength. Help me remember that you are always with me. In Jesus name, Amen.

About the author — Mark Stephenson

Rev. Mark Stephenson is the Director of Disability Concerns for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Previously he served in two congregations in Michigan. He and his wife have four children.

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