Deuteronomy 31:6

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.  NIV

This is part of a speech that Moses gave to the people of Israel after they had wandered for 40 years in the desert.  Moses knows that he won’t be going with them into the promised land, instead, Joshua will lead the people.

“Them,” in this verse refers to their enemies.  As I remember the story, the Israelites had actually reached the promised land 40 years earlier, but, the scouts they sent into the land came back and told them that the land was inhabited by a whole bunch of people that the Israelites could never hope to conquer.

Now they’re back for the second time, and Moses tells them not to worry about their enemies … they need only to trust in God.

Forty years is a long time to wait for a do-over.  When I think about the parents in my life, they tend to encourage their children to try again immediately upon failing at a task.  There is a lot of wisdom in that.  If you try again immediately, you can immediately utilize what you learned about what caused you to fail initially.  If, for instance, you fell off the bike because you turned the handlebars too quickly and you lost your balance, you can try again, and learn the tolerance that you and the bike have for how quickly those handlebars can be turned.  There is little more that you can learn about what caused you to fall or what will keep you from falling by sitting on the sidewalk, worrying about getting back on the bike.  But sometimes, the thought of getting back on the bike, or the horse, or whatever threw you, is intimidating.

There is a lot of wisdom in this verse.  We don’t have to rely on ourselves and our own imperfect understanding of the circumstances.  Instead, we should, “Be strong.  Take courage.  Don’t be intimidated.  Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you.  He’s right there with you, He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.” The Message

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Filed under Deuteronomy, Fear, Old Testament

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