Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. – Deuteronomy 6:5
So many times we hear this familiar verse as a command – something to be obeyed. But what if we heard it as an invitation? God, who loves you with all of his heart, soul and strength, is inviting you to love him back. That changes everything!
On some days and in some seasons of our lives, standing is hard. Perhaps you are in one of those seasons now. Maybe you are supporting a friend or family member who is walking through a difficult season. Whatever your circumstances, be encouraged that God stands with you today and always.
God promises to never leave us, to provide refuge and to strengthen us. He also gives us his promise that he knows and cares about us. Regardless of how it seems sometimes, God is not distant. He is near and working in your life to restore and guide.
May these promises provide the strength you need to stand firm in every season of life.
After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 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. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:1-9
Three times the Lord challenges Joshua to be “strong and courageous.” God is giving Joshua a big job to do! He is tasked with leading “all these people” into hostile territory for a direct confrontation with their enemies. “I will never leave you nor forsake you” must have given Joshua great comfort. What big job has the Lord given you to do? Ask God today to comfort you with the promise that he will never leave nor forsake you.
“The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Where will you go this week that you will be grateful to have God’s presence with you? What difference will it make to have God with you in that place or situation? When you are discouraged or terrified, how easy is it to make the choice to be strong and courageous? In what situations is it most difficult for you to be strong and courageous? Talk to God about the feelings or questions you may have about this challenge.
What would it look like for you to be strong and courageous in the most difficult places of your life? Ask God to give you a reminder of his presence with you in those moments. Take a moment now to imagine him with you. What is God communicating to you through his words, posture, or proximity to you?
With God’s promise come a few reminders. We are to be obedient to his Word and careful to follow his instructions. How does his presence offer you the strength that obedience requires?
Is there a time in your life when you felt like God had abandoned you? Talk to God about that experience as honestly as you can. What question would you like to ask God about that time? How has that experience affected your ability to believe God’s promise?
Leave this time trusting that the Lord will never leave you.