God with us - Week 2: Deuteronomy 31:6
Along my Christian journey, Deuteronomy 31:6 usually appeared when I was feeling afraid or uncertain. It was like there was some kind of Deuteronomy 31:6 detector system that tracked my insecurity and knew exactly when to strike. There it was in a Sunday Service or handed out as a bookmark at youth group (this was in the days before social media when Christian bookmarks were more of a thing)! When I was younger, this verse felt almost accusatory. Stay with me on this as I know it will be a favourite for many of you! I wanted to be inspired and motivated by it, but instead, I saw…
Get a grip!
Pull yourself together!
Have more faith!
My perception was that this verse pointed out all the different ways I failed to be a ‘good’ Christian. In my teens and twenties, I often felt weak and cowardly. I was afraid most of the time and often felt panicky. I would then heap guilt on myself that even though I believed the Lord was with me and would not give up on me, I still felt afraid most of the time. I’m telling you this because there will be many verses that we look at over the next year that will bring up memories and associations that you may need to consider. We bring our own experience when we read scripture, and sometimes it’s important to take a step back and ask God for a fresh perspective on familiar words.
That’s what I’ve done with Deuteronomy 31:6 this week!
So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.
When Joshua heard these words from Moses, he would have been raring to go and ready for the challenge ahead. For Joshua, these words emboldened him to step up and lead the Israelites: to live out his calling, but strength and courage can look different for each one of us.
Strength and courage could be getting up every day and patiently caring for a loved one.
Strength and courage could be taking a step back from a leadership role you are no longer called to.
Strength and courage could be navigating life after trauma and putting one step in front of the other.
Strength and courage could be recovering from divorce with grace and dignity.
Strength and courage could be picking yourself up after failure and trying again.
Strength and courage could be choosing to rest instead of getting caught up in busyness.
Strength and courage could be calling a friend when you know you’re not doing so well instead of withdrawing from those around you.
Strength and courage could be keeping quiet when you have plenty to say.
Strength and courage can be so many things for all our different circumstances.
What does strength and courage look like to you just now?
Whatever you will face over the coming week, may these verses be a reminder that God walks ahead of you. Be strong and courageous, whatever that looks like for you, because He’s here with you. You don’t need to get a grip because He’s the one holding you. Whatever path you need to walk this week, God goes ahead of of you.
Be strong and courageous!