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April 7, 2020

THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 7 April 2020

What better encouragement can the child of God have, then to know “I will be with you”? The simple words – “I will be with you” – were once spoken to Moses, when he was uttering excuses not to act based upon God’s stated purpose for him. The same God, who gave assurance to Moses, gave promise to Joshua in a similarly threatening circumstance. Times may change, yet God is always present with his servant and his people to help and deliver.

The certainty that God is with his servant and his people is reason why God exhorted Joshua to “be strong and courageous.” The message for us is not to summon our own strength and be courageous on our own. God’s people are to be strong only because God is with us.

The promise of God’s presence is repeated in the New Testament. Hebrews 13:5-6 affirms, “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,’ so that we confidently say, ‘The Lord is my Helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?’” The promise of God’s abiding presence in Joshua 1 is also relevant to believers in Jesus Christ today. Knowing that in the midst of life-changing circumstances and threats, God is saying, “I will be with you,” “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” is essential for the people of God to recognize.

Three times in Joshua 1, God exhorted Joshua “to be strong and courageous” (vv. 6, 7, 9). When God says anything even one time He means it, and we should listen attentively and obediently. Indeed, when He told Joshua to be “strong and courageous,” God added, “be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you have may success wherever you go” (v. 7). God’s repeated exhortation to be “strong and courageous” emphasizes the importance of acting based upon the Lord’s holy and inspired Word.

Jesus said, “apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Nevertheless, every child of God can say in agreement with Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Him [Christ] who strengthens me.” Merely possessing the Word of God is not commendable, or even to set aside time for a Bible devotion. God’s people must obey the Lord's Word, as James 1:22 urges, “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” God promises to be with his people, but they must also be with the Lord through submission to his will – being obedient to his Word – for that was the pattern of victory for Joshua, and is also the pattern of victory for God’s people today.

Joshua 1:9 is certainly one of the greatest verses in the Bible. God’s challenge to be strong and courageous should encourage the heart and mind of anyone who has tried to serve the Lord. God did not tell Joshua that some day he might be discouraged or terrified; rather, that seems to have been his current state of mind. Anxiety and discouragement typically accompany any kind of important work. The antidote is a continual awareness of the presence of the Lord. Know that Joshua’s God is able to sustain and bless you as well. Be ready – be strong and courageous – convinced that you can trust God enough to confront every circumstance with confidence.

Grace and Peace to You,

Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia

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