God tells Joshua three times:
Be strong and courageous.
6 “Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. 8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. 9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:6-9, NLT.
The scouts who slip into Jericho’s walls meet Rahab, a prostitute, who helps them. She tells them how word has spread throughout the region of God’s power and presence with them.
9 “I know the Lord has given you this land,” she told them. “We are all afraid of you. Everyone in the land is living in terror. 10 For we have heard how the Lord made a dry path for you through the Red Sea when you left Egypt. And we know what you did to Sihon and Og, the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River, whose people you completely destroyed. 11 No wonder our hearts have melted in fear! No one has the courage to fight after hearing such things. For the Lord your God is the supreme God of the heavens above and the earth below.” Joshua 2:9-11, NLT.
I read on of them preparing themselves to move forward into God’s promise.
7 The Lord told Joshua, “Today I will begin to make you a great leader in the eyes of all the Israelites. They will know that I am with you, just as I was with Moses. 8 Give this command to the priests who carry the Ark of the Covenant: ‘When you reach the banks of the Jordan River, take a few steps into the river and stop there.’” Joshua 3:7-8, NLT.
I hunker into a literary huddle inside the camp, leaning in to listen. Joshua was probably speaking loudly to a crowd, but in my mind, he whispers so I draw closer in expectation.
9 So Joshua told the Israelites, “Come and listen to what the Lord your God says. 10 Today you will know that the living God is among you …” Joshua 3:9-10a, NLT.
Step in and stop. This phrase sticks with me through the years, and I’m reminded today. I read these verses several years ago when we were preparing to move. Today, I can look back at that time of life and see God’s hand throughout the details.
Sometimes God leads into unfamiliar territory. I am thankful for every single step (tear and fear) of that journey. There was no doubt of his presence at the time, even when stepping out in faith was heavy and hard. Don’t miss his glory. Look for him, even in times of deep sadness or fear … the living God is among you. The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.