No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Joshua 1:5 (NKJV)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NKJV)
God once again commands Joshua to be strong and courageous, not to be afraid or dismayed. God then gives Joshua the main reason he can be strong and courageous. Joshua could be courageous because God would be with him wherever he went. God told Joshua that He would be with Joshua just as he was with Moses.
This is the idea of omnipresence, that God can be everywhere at the same time. I absolutely love this promise. In my mind one of the greatest promises we have in Scripture is the promise that God is with us. In the Old Testament God promised His people that He would never leave them nor forsake them (Deuteronomy 31:6). This promise is repeated in the New Testament (Hebrews 13:5) to help us understand that God is always with us.
While I believe that God is with all believers at all times, there is something I want us to notice here. God’s promise to be with Joshua is connected to God’s call on Joshua to lead the people to go into the land. God told Joshua that the reason no one would be able to stand before him in battle is because God would be with him. In other words God told Joshua, “I will be with you as you go.” It is the same idea in both verses. God is saying to Joshua that He will be with Joshua as he goes into the land.
One of the things you find in Scripture is that the promise of God’s presence is often connected to going out in service to God. We see it here with Joshua. We also see it with Moses (Exodus 3:12), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:8) and we see it with Paul (Acts 26:17). One other place we see it in the New Testament is in connection with going to fulfill the great commission.
“…All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV)
There are probably some that know the truth that God is with you. Yet when you hear other people talk about experiencing the presence of God in their lives it’s really not something you can relate to. Mentally you know God is with you but experience wise you’ve never really known that God was with you. Why do you think that is?
I submit to you that there are depths of God’s presence that we will never know until we courageously step out and begin to do the things He wants us to do. Throughout Scripture God sought to encourage those who were fearful about serving Him by making sure they knew that He would be with them. We aren’t going alone as we seek to serve God. We aren’t going alone when we seek to share the Gospel with someone. Through all of these things Jesus goes with us. Jesus isn’t watching from heaven and cheering us on. He is actually going with us we seek to serve Him. Once again I’m sure this is something we all know. However it takes faith inspired courage to lead us to be so convinced of God’s presence that we step out by faith and serve Him even when we are scared.
One of the things I’ve realized in my life is that if I wait until the fear goes away I’ll never do anything because the fear almost never leaves. I’ve been pastoring for just about 12 years and preaching for just about 14. Yet I’m nervous and scared nearly every Sunday morning. If I only preached when I wasn’t nervous or scared then I wouldn’t preach very often at all. When it comes to our service to God there must come a time in all of our lives where we push through the fear and do what we know God wants done. This requires faith inspired courage that leads us to be convinced of God’s promises, committed to God’s Word and certain of God’s presence.