As Joshua stood ready to lead the Hebrews into the land promised by God, the responsibility of the task must have weighed heavily on his shoulders. Moses was dead and the mantle of leadership was passed to Joshua. I can’t imagine what was running through his head as he stood atop the mountain before proceeding with the entire population of Hebrews. He had been a witness to the mistakes made by Aaron and Moses and he probably wondered if he was up to the task. God must have known this was true because he sought to reassure Joshua of his loyalty and devotion. In the book of Joshua 1:5, God tells Joshua, “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” What a promise!
Life is filled with important moments when we feel all alone. The phrase, ‘the buck stops here’, can terrify us as we realize there is no one to whom we can turn to tell us what to do. No one, that is, except God. God is with us and will never leave us just as He was with Joshua.
In his book, Angels, Billy Graham related a story about a missionary and his wife who were facing certain death at the hands of local natives. No one had been able to survive a journey into the natives’ land but one brave minister and his wife decided it was their mission to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to theses primitive people. The attempt to sit down with the tribe was met with great resistance and one night all the warriors surrounded the couple’s compound. Neither the minister or his wife expected to see the sun rise the next day. So, they prayed. The night wore on and no attack came although the natives were still surrounding the compound. As daylight broke, the minister ventured outside and saw no one. Not one warrior remained.
In time, the minister converted the chief and his tribe. The men became friends and were able to understand each other’s language eventually. Curious, the minister asked why the chief had spared him and his wife years before. The warriors were standing ready with spears but never attacked. The chief looked at the minister with a surprised look on his face and said, “We didn’t attack because of all the warriors who were standing guard all around your compound and even on the roof. They had sharp swords and stood ready to take on my warriors.” The minister was taken aback, but he remembered the fervent prayers he and his wife had offered to God and knew that nothing less than God’s own angels had protected them that night.
The story is true and so is God’s promise to never leave us, to always be there for us. Life may not always go the way we want, but regardless of the situation, God is ready to sustain us.
Prayer: God, in our joys and sorrows, in peril and safety, you are with us. We feel the comfort and strength of your loving arms around us. Thank you for your faithfulness. Amen