Have I Not Commanded You?
// George DeTellis, Jr.
After the time of Moses, God spoke to Joshua with these words, “Have I not commanded you?
Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). Imagine Joshua, who was now about 68 years old, standing atop a mountain looking down on the Promised Land of Canaan. As Joshua stood there staring at the Promised Land, for the second time in his life there were still voices of doubt. This was the land God had promised to the Israelites as an inheritance 40 years earlier. When Joshua was in his thirties, he had spied out the land and gave a good report that the people of Israel should invade the land at once and conquer the cities. But the people were afraid and did not put their faith in God. As punishment for their unbelief, they wandered in the desert for 40 years. God was giving Joshua a second chance to be the military commander who would conquer the lands promised to the Israelites. In that moment, God commands Joshua to be strong and of good courage and not to be afraid, because the Lord God promised to be with Joshua and to be the strength that would provide the victory. The point is that we are to be strong and courageous—not in our personal abilities—but in the Word of God whose promises we can stand on for strength in the battles of life. God is commanding us also to have faith in Him, in the same way He commanded Joshua. The same promise that He gave to Joshua He is also giving to us. He will be with us wherever we go.
Have you ever doubted and disappointed God? Was there ever a time you were afraid to do something God wanted you to do? The Israelites doubted and disappointed God. We can examine the life of Peter, Jesus’ disciple. Did Peter disappoint Jesus when he denied Him three times? Where was Peter̓s faith in this darkest hour? Yes…Peter doubted and disappointed God. I imagine that every Christian is guilty of doubt and unbelief at some time in their life, too. Just as Peter repented of his doubt and unbelief, we too need to repent of our doubt and unbelief, and give our lives wholly to Christ. It takes courage to believe in God! I believe the Apostle Paul wrote the book of Hebrews, and in chapter 10 he makes reference to the Israelites when they doubted God and were afraid to enter the Promised Land. “But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him. But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.” (Hebrews 10:38-39). Like the Israelites, if we want to inherit the promises of God in His Word, we will have to be courageous and live by faith. ~George DeTellis Jr.