“Be strong and of good courage……And the Lord He is One who goes before you.  He will be with you, He will not leave you or forsake you; do not fear or be dismayed.  Deuteronomy 31: 7-8

You and I, we are on a journey.  God has a plan for us but at times we may have chafed at his direction and wondered off.  In our eyes, the journey has been long and arduous.  We may or may not have seen God’s hands in our blessings along the way.  And now our promise land awaits.  In some cases we misinterpret this location as a place where we come to a terrestrial stop; our expectation may be that we have come to a place where no more effort is required.  A place where we sit back and it just all comes to us.  On the other hand, we may be in a position where we see the grandeur of the promise land that is promised to us and we are awestruck.  But we may also be struck with fear.  In an ironic mental twist, we say:  “This promise land is too hard for us to live in.  It is too good for us to be able to maintain.  We will never be able to obtain it and truly make it ours.  Leave us in the imperfection and wilderness where we feel comfortable.”

Moses is speaking to the people he has led and loved for more than forty years.  He is the prophet of the Most High God, who speaks directly to him.  God has specifically and clearly told Moses of His plan for His people and has given Moses words of encouragement to speak to his people.  They are about to cross over into a land promised to them, through their ancestors.  Moses has seen them turn away before.  But he knows, with Joshua as their leader, they are about to actually cross over.  So he pronounces those words from the Lord over them.  And those words are not just for them; they are for us on our journeys.  A promise fulfilled through the Life and Resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

The triumph of our journey is going to take strength and courage.  Where does that come from?  The sure knowledge that God, Himself, goes before us.  We can have the sure knowledge that He is with us.  We should be filled with the confidence that His presence is not temporary for He will never leave or forsake us.  This world should hold nothing to bring us to fear or dismay.  What an all empowering, all encompassing promise.  What should be our response?  First to love.  To Love the Giver of the response, plus to love those to whom the promise is given; yes, that includes ourselves plus those who are on the journey with us.  Second, to go.  To enter the promise land, to receive the blessings given to us, to not settle for being our own gods of our own imperfect plan and existence, but to submit, in joy, and inter in to His promised land.  May it be that we grasp on to and hold on tightly to this promise.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, we are so thankful and praise Your Most Holy Name for the promise that you have given to each of us.  Through Your Mercy, You have promised to go before us on our journeys, to be with us and never leave us.  We ask that You will pour out Your Spirit upon us, that we gain strength to move forward in you, and the courage to not fear or be dismayed.  We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

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