The Lord your God is with you

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 g0.” -Joshua 1:9

This isn’t just a suggestion to Joshua, this is a command. To be strong and courageous, to not be faint of heart or discouraged. If this is where the verse ends, I don’t think it would carry as much weight in my heart as it does. It’s easy to encourage someone and tell them to be strong, but its another thing to recognize where that strength comes from. I can’t simply turn a switch in my brain and suddenly be strong and without fear (as much as I wish I could), it’s the second part of this verse that speaks a powerful truth, “for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” It is because He is with me that I can be of good courage, that I can move forward and not be afraid. The god and ruler of the universe cares for me and is always with me, why should I be scared? He is all powerful and all knowing, not a hair on my head is touched unless He allows it. I can be confident in knowing that He loves me and He knows what’s best for me. I was dead in my sin, yet He made me alive together with Him, forgiving me of all my wrongs and trespasses, with which He nailed to the cross. It is by His grace alone that I am able to be called a child of God. I no longer have to strive for acceptance and an earthly inheritance, He is my cup and the portion of my soul. My life is hidden with Christ in God. I don’t have to be afraid any longer. He is my strength and my inheritance. He is with me wherever I go.

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Numbers 18:20 says,

“Then the Lord said to Aaron: “You shall have no inheritance in their land, nor shall you have any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the children of Israel.”

God speaks to Aaron in this verse and tells him that in the in the land of the children of Israel, he shall not have a distinct portion of land like the other tribes will. God wanted Aaron and the Levites fully devoted to service and free from worldly entanglements. He provided everything that they needed, and He asked that they would trust Him.  The Lord keeps bringing me back to this verse, to remind me that my value and purpose is found in Him- not my circumstances. That has been a huge lesson that the Lord has been teaching me in Ignite. Now as I find myself looking to what’s next, He continues to show me this truth that I have as His daughter. I am in this world, but no longer apart of it. “O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot.” (Psalm 16:5) My future and my hope are found in Him, held in the shadow of the wings of the Almighty. I no longer have to fear, He has my entire life in His hands. My contentment can be found in Christ, not the place or way I serve. This world is fading, but God is eternal. Am I wasting my life laying up treasures here on earth, trying to attain an earthly inheritance? Or am I living a surrendered life to Him who has given everything for me? Psalm 16 continues in verse 6 with, “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; yes, I have a good inheritance.” I am a daughter of the King, loved despite all my mistakes and sin. This is my inheritance, this is the better life.

Giants

Numbers 13: 27-28

“We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey and this is its fruit. Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there.”

The Lord had commanded Moses to send spies into Canaan, which was the land God promised the Israelites. Moses encouraged them to be of good courage as they scouted the land, to see whether the people who dwelt there were strong or weak, whether the land was good or bad. The spies came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation and told them this passage in verse 27-28 of Numbers.

They start off by stating how beautiful the promised land was, how it truly did flow with milk and honey just like the Lord promised them. It reminds me of how God is faithful, even when we are not. He is so good and His promises never fail, but how often do I doubt the promises that He clearly speaks? Instead of trusting in the sovereignty of God, the spies continued on to say that the people who dwelt there were too strong, and the cities were too strong and fortified, and worst of all, how they saw the descendants of Anak there, who were giants. Almost a year ago in June, I went on my first mission trip to El Salvador, and I can’t help but be reminded of the message that one of my team leaders shared. He spoke about the giants that we face; the trials that seem impossible to overcome. When David faced Goliath, everyone around him told him it was absurd, and that He could never defeat a giant like Goliath. But David knew that it wasn’t in his strength that he would kill the giant, it was God’s strength. He trusted in the Lord, no matter how frightening it may have been to be face to face with Goliath.

In my life, I can look at the giant and think it is impossible to beat it. But that’s not what God asks of me. He knows that I am only human, and I can’t do it, but He can. David didn’t beat Goliath by Himself, He had the Lord behind Him, and His victory was secure in the promise of his Saviour. All David had to do was be faithful to what was asked of Him and trust that God was working through it.

(verse 30) “Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, ‘Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.’” Caleb, along with Joshua, were the only two spies that trusted that God would fulfill His promise to the Israelites, no matter how strong the people of Canaan were.

Sadly, the only response of the other spies was, “We are not able to go up against he people, for they are stronger than we.” (verse 31) They doubted the promise of God because of what their eyes saw. How many times in my life am I the exact same way? Why do I doubt in the darkness what God has shown me in the light? He is faithful and His Word is true, and He simply asks that I trust Him. He gave everything for me, so why am I so reluctant to give my all to Him? Father I pray that You would help me to overcome the fear that so easily ensnares me; to walk in confidence in light of Your goodness, and to not be overtaken by my circumstances and the “giants” that I face. You are there with me every step of the way, and not a hair on my head is touched without your consent. I am Your child, I don’t have to be afraid anymore.

The Importance of Prayer

Numbers 10:9-10

“When you go to war in your land against the enemy who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, and you will be remembered before the Lord your God, and you will be saved from your enemies. Also in the day of your gladness, in your appointed feasts, and at the beginning of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; and they shall be memorial for you before your God: I am the Lord your God.

This really stuck out to me as I was reading in my morning devotionals. The Lord used this passage to show me just how important prayer is. When the Israelites would go to war, they would sound the trumpets for the Lord to remember them, like they were calling out to Him. But it wasn’t only when they were in trouble or about to go to war; they would also sound the trumpets in the day of their gladness, when they had their feasts and joyful celebrations. How could these be? Two complete opposites that God asks the Israelites to do the same thing in. When they were in trouble, they called out to the Lord. When they were celebrating, they called out and thanked the Lord.

In my mind, I replaced “sound an alarm with the trumpets” with “pray”. and thought about it in relation to my own life.

“When you go through trials and afflictions, then you shall pray, and you will be remembered before the Lord your God, and you will be saved from your enemies. Also in the day of your gladness, in your appointed feasts, and at the beginning of your months, you shall pray and give thanks for what the Lord has provided; and they shall be memorial for you before your God: I am the Lord your God.”

What God asked of the Israelites then is what He still asks of me today. To pray and call upon His name no matter what may be happening in my life. When life get’s hard and I feel overwhelmed, He simply asks that I call upon His name. If I expect my earthly father to help me when I talk to him about my problems, should I expect anything different from my Heavenly Father? Luke 11:11 says, “If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone?” But how can I expect anything to change if I don’t even ask Him? James 4:2-3 says, “You do not have because you do not ask.”

Yes, He may know all of my thoughts and everything about me, but He still wants me to pour out my heart to Him. That’s what it means to be His daughter; to be identified with Him and to have a relationship with Him. He desires to speak with me and to build my faith in Him. Even when things are great, that is no reason to stop praying. I should be thanking Him and remembering that it was Him that provided for me, that it was Him gave me strength to get through it all.

If I have a friend, and I only come to them in my time of need for help, what kind of friendship is that? Through the good and bad they are there. They are there to help me and to celebrate with me, and I am grateful that I have them as my friend.

So Lord I pray that I would never forget the importance of prayer; what it means to be in constant communion with You and to call upon your name in both the good and the bad. You are there with me always, and your desire is that I simply ask rather than try to do it all in my own strength. Zechariah 4:6 “not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit.”