Strength When Your Heart Melts
Read Deuteronomy 31:6 (ESV)
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.
What do you dread? What are you afraid of? How does remembering that the LORD is with you affect your fear?
I have heard from more than one person that they are struggling with fear. Some are worried about the current state of affairs in our country. Many are worried about the potential loss of our religious freedoms. Others are worried about division and hatred because even Christians are fighting among themselves. And of course, the pandemic did not ease anxiety or unite us. On top of that, we all have our own personal problems. Watching all of this unfold can be unnerving. We don’t know what the future holds.
In today’s verse, Moses was addressing all of the people of Israel. He was an old man. God told him that he would not be leading His people into the Promised Land so he was passing the torch to Joshua. Joshua would lead God’s people into Canaan so they could possess the promises of God.
Previously, the Israelites had let fear get the best of them. In Deuteronomy 1:28-33, Moses reminded them that the generation before them had been too afraid to take what God had promised them: “Where are we going up? Our brothers have made our hearts melt, saying, ‘The people are greater and taller than we. The cities are great and fortified up to heaven. And besides, we have seen the sons of the Anakim [giants] there.’ Then I said to you, ‘Do not be in dread or afraid of them. The LORD your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the LORD your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place.’ Yet in spite of this word you did not believe the LORD your God, who went before you in the way to seek out a place to pitch your tents, in fire by night and in the cloud by day, to show you by what way you should go.”
This unbelieving generation was disciplined for their lack of trust in the LORD. They had seen the miracles in Egypt and the Exodus. They had seen His provision in the manna and the quail. They could see His protection and His presence in the pillars of cloud and fire. Every step of the way, God had carried them through. He was leading them to the land He had promised way back to their Father Abraham. But when they stood on the verge of seeing that promise become a reality, they balked. Even after all they had seen, they were still afraid. They doubted they could overcome the inhabitants of the land. They refused to go in because they forgot Who was going in with them.
Friends, we aren’t the Israelites but we are God’s people and He has made us promises, too. In John 14:1-3, Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” No matter what happens in this life, our hearts do not need to be troubled. We shouldn’t melt in fear or dread an unknown future. We have a “promised land.” Jesus is preparing our home so that we can be where He is. We can be strong and courageous despite the troubles and anxieties of this life because He is with us always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).
Jesus, when I think about Your promises and when I remember Your presence, my fears melt away. I do not need to fear or dread the future because You are with me. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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