The Lord said to Joshua…“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:1, 9)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Do you ever feel all alone? As if there is no one by your side? Joshua knows that feeling. Joshua’s good friend Moses is now in heaven. God has called Joshua to lead Israel. All the demands, different opinions, and ideas about what Israel should do.
What does Joshua need? Promises. To hear the Promises of God in his ears and on his heart. The Lord gives Joshua His Word of Promise. The Lord repeats His promises to Joshua again and again. The Lord is with you wherever you go. The source of strength and courage is God's presence wherever you go.
For 40 years in the wilderness God was with His People leading them by a Pillar of Cloud by day and a Pillar of Fire by night. God took Israel through a place of death and lead them into the Promised Land. There is the Crossing of the Jordan River--reminding the people of God's presence. (Much like the Crossing of the Red Sea.) Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground. (Joshua 3)
The Lord is with you. A new land--the Promised Land to live in. How are they to live? As God's redeemed people. Trusting in God's Promises and believing God's Word. Sadly, the people rebel against God--as they had done time and time before.
Joshua is to lead a rebellious people. Joshua hears God's Word--the Promise is repeated-- The Lord is with you wherever you go. God keeps on repeating His Promise to Joshua. The commander of the LORD's army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” (Joshua 5) As God was with Moses on the Mountain--so too is the Lord with Joshua giving His Promise. Joshua grows in confidence in God's Promises. So bold is Joshua to bring God's Word to Israel in the face of rebellion. As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Joshua 24)
How do you know that the Lord is with you? God has promised it to you. Jesus has come down out of heaven to save His people from their sins. The Name given to Jesus at Christmas is Immanuel. “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). (Matthew 1)
Jesus has come down in flesh and blood to rescue you. Jesus goes to the Cross to take away all that separates you from God--and that is your sin. For our sake he made him (Jesus) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor. 5) Jesus dies in the place of sinners and on the 3rd day rises from the grave. Jesus rises over the grave not to run away from you but to make His dwelling among us.
Lord is with you wherever you go. How do you know? Jesus made that promise to you in Holy Baptism. Make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28)
Be strong and courageous the Lord is with you. “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. (Revelation 21) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Pastor Berndt
878 Abide with Me
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies.
Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.