IF WE QUESTION GOD, DARE WE NOT EXPECT HIM TO QUESTION US?


Job 38:1-3 – “Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: 2 “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? 3 Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me.”  NKJV

Job allowed himself to drift into a self-righteous mindset and questioned God.  The LORD, as He often does, allowed it to continue for a time, then made His presence known in the situation and placed Job in the interrogation room and informed Job that God Himself would be the detective in this case and ask a few questions.  I can only imagine how Job felt, especially after God in all His Holiness asked the first question or two.

Job had been proclaiming his righteousness, and now God stepped in and revealed Himself as the Sovereign Creator of Everything.  In that light, He caused Job to understand the fallacy of Job’s argument and the wrongness of questioning God.  How would you answer God were He to ask?

  • To Explain Creation to Him.
  • To Explain Gravity, Planetary Balance, Sea Waters, the Waters above and beneath the earth, or Nature in general.
  • Light and Darkness and their result and effect on everything.
  • Where Light and Darkness come from, or Snow for that matter, and how each snowflake is different.
  • The Stars, Lightning, or other natural occurrences.
  • Animal behavior and habits.
  • God’s Rule over all Creation.

What if God were to demand that you explain all those things to Him?  Job could see the natural occurrences, but could he control or even explain them?  By the time God was through interrogating Job, the heart of this man was filled with wonder, and he recognized his wrongness.  He recognized the sovereignty of God and confessed that he had spoken ‘words without knowledge.’   How many times do we, through our petty pet doctrines, do the same?

It was out of Job’s repentance that God had him pray for his so-called comforters, which were indeed physicians of no value, and then restored to Job double.  Job came to a place that He would no longer trust his righteousness or personal perceived goodness but would entirely rely on God.  That is the place we must come to if we are to walk in the fullness of God’s Abundant Life that Jesus came to bring.  There is a place in God above humanity’s ability, and we can enter that realm through faith, humility, and obedience.

God bless you as you go through this day!

THE QUESTION IS – DO WE REALLY BELIEVE THE BIBLE?


Psalm 55:22 – “Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”  NKJV

David said in Psalm 37:25 – “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.”  In verse 24, speaking of the righteous, he said, “Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the LORD upholds him with His hand.”  I do not believe any conflict exists in the three passages cited here or in the remainder of the biblical message. 

Is this a guarantee that we will not have problems or that we could not become a castaway or disqualified, as Paul described in 1 Corinthians 9:27?  Is this a guarantee that we will not or cannot, as described in Hebrews 10:35 – “…cast away our confidence…”?  Is it a compilation of the promise in Romans 8:28 that “all things” are working together for our good? 

I passionately believe that God has promised to keep us against that day, and Nothing can separate us from His love.  Although I am very aware that circumstances, conditions, events, and assaults on our lives can bring us to the brink of despair, God has promised Never to leave us nor forsake us. This is descriptive that IF we ‘cast our burden on the LORD,’ He will sustain us.  Do you see one small caveat or possible problem here?

The instruction is to Cast or Roll our burden on the LORD, which is a requirement for the remainder of the promise.  Suppose we refuse to gather under the shelter of his wings as Psalm 91 describes, and we trust the Arm of flesh rather than coming to him, taking His yoke upon us, and allowing Him to be supreme in our lives. In that case, we place ourselves outside the scope of the promise of the second portion of the verse.  But if we do Cast or Roll our burdens on Him, we are assured that He will not permit us to be moved!  That is a powerful promise!

Therefore, IF we believe the Bible, then would that not be an encouragement for us to be obedient in casting our burdens on the LORD?  In my humble opinion, IF one believes t by turning to the LORD, rolling our cares on Him, and allowing Him to engineer the course of our lives according to His plan would afford security, safety, and victory, what sense would it make not to do so?  The only reason we would not is that we do not genuinely believe the Bible or trust God’s promise.  I know that is a bit harsh and strongly stated but examine it before rejecting it.

When I consider the life of David, I readily understand how he would have developed a mentality of trust toward the LORD.  God repeatedly demonstrated His faithfulness to David.  David either trusted or repented for failure and ran to the LORD.  Most of us, if not all of us, have experienced God’s faithfulness.  I know that in the times I have genuinely cast my burden on Him, He has proved His Promises!  It did not always transpire as I thought it should or even in the timeframe I had in mind, but God Never Failed and Never Will.

May God be with you as you go through this day!

THE ONLY TRUE FREEDOM…


John 8:31-36 – “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”

34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.  35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.  36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”  NKJV

You can be in chains and not be a slave or be enslaved without bonds.  Chains do not determine Freedom; the heart and mind do.  Unfortunately, nothing we do will eradicate human bondage, and men will enslave other men against their will in the natural realm.  I can only imagine the physical, mental, and even spiritual torture that being captive brings.  My heart breaks for anyone who has endured that condition, either as a prisoner of war, a human slave against their will, a hostage, or anything of the like. 

I know two men who, though captives, were never enslaved in their hearts and minds.  One was a Japanese prisoner during WWII who escaped. The Vietnamese held the other in Hanoi and endured years of horrific, inhumane torture and abuse.  Both professed that their faith in God and belief in the Word of God kept them Free though in chains.  They were and are examples of True Freedom!

The only True Freedom is through the shed blood of Jesus and the Grace of God.  If we receive the forgiveness of sin and are born again, we experience True Freedom!  A person thusly free can be imprisoned, chained, and otherwise enslaved physically, but they will never be a Slave in their heart or mind because the Son has set them free!

We celebrate our Independence in America, yet multiplied thousands are still enslaved in one form or another.  Enslavement of the mind is possibly worse than being enslaved in the flesh, for if a person’s mind is captive, the attitude and actions will reflect that condition.  Breaking free and living life to the full is virtually impossible because the mind is in chains to wrong thinking, victimization, and false premises.  But if we receive the Freedom that Jesus came and brought, we cannot be enslaved.  Remember, if God is for us, who can be against us? As a friend of mine likes to say, “what difference does it make, who is against us if God is for us?”

God bless you! In Jesus, you are FREE, so Live Free!

IT IS HUMANLY POSSIBLE…


Hebrews 2:14-18 – “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. 16 For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. 17 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.”  NASB

The writer of Hebrews, speaking by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, pulled back the veil for us to see a truth of possibility and redemption.  He makes it clear that humans experience temptations and trials as depraved creatures.  He further illustrates that as a lost creature under the domain of darkness, man could not satisfy divine justice and needed one to come who was sinless and yet functioned as a man to be a sacrifice for sin.  Adam lost the purity of life in the Garden and, through sin, became a slave of the devil.  Through man’s disobedience, Satan gained a legal right to man as the god of this world.

There had to be one who could operate, live, feel, think, and experience the temptations and trials common to man and do so without sin.  No human could meet that requirement, so God chose the Incarnation of Jesus to come ‘as man’ and ‘for man’ to experience and be subject to all the temptations as we do.  Jesus came and satisfied the divine requirement of being without sin, qualifying Him as the ‘Lamb of God’ to atone for man’s sin.  He was made like us ‘in all things’ yet did not yield to temptation or sin.  As the LAST ADAM, he did what the FIRST ADAM could not do.

When Jesus died on the Cross, the Son of Man paid the price to repurchase us or redeem the race from the devil’s clutches and legal dominion.  That did not and does not mean that ‘all were or are saved.’ It means that the door is open for their salvation.  The debt has been paid, and divine justice has been satisfied. Through this incredible demonstration of unconditional love, the Door to Salvation has been opened for ‘whosoever will’ as per John 3:16.  If you have not received Him, today is the day of salvation, and now is the accepted time.  As the Holy Spirit brings conviction to your heart, repent, and believe!  He is still calling today!

May God be with you as you go through this day!

WE ARE COMMANDED TO TEACH OUR CHILDREN…


Deuteronomy 6:4-6 – “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! 5 ” You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.” 

Deuteronomy 11:18-22 – “You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 19 ” You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. 20 ” You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your sons may be multiplied on the land which the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens remain above the earth.”  NASB

It was a sad day in our history when we turned the responsibility of teaching our children to the government or the state.  Initially, the Bible was part of their public education but not today.  It has been said that America is no longer a Christian nation, which may be true.  Most still profess a belief in the existence of God but do they seek to serve Him?

It is the responsibility of parents and grandparents to teach their children the principles of life and the Word of God.  It is not the responsibility of the public school or even Sunday school.  It should be a natural part of family life.  We need to turn off the television, set aside our smartphones, log off the computers, and develop relationships that use actual language and face-to-face experiences with each other and our children.  Biblically we are directed to allow God’s word to be impressed upon our hearts to the degree that we talk of them as a family at all critical times of the day.

No wonder the Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  I didn’t say browbeat them; I said TRAIN them.  Demonstrate the importance and respect of the Word in your life and instill in them the core principles and values taught in God’s Word. 

Children are our responsibility; let’s do the right thing for them.  God bless you as you go through your day.  May God’s Richest and Best Blessings be upon you!

LET ME GIVE YOU A NEW OLD WORD.


Psalm 23 – “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.  2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.  3 He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.  6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” NASB

I love this Psalm for many reasons.  One is that it describes and depicts what I like to call the “is-ness” of God.  Consider to David begins the Psalm – The LORD IS…  He is, not maybe will be, could be, and might be HE IS! Then David launches into a powerful discourse about WHAT and WHO GOD is to him personally, you, and me.

Because He IS my shepherd, “want or a sense of neediness is banished.”  Because He IS my shepherd, I am led to the quiet refreshing waters to restore my soul, directed to the lush green pastures for the sustenance of life I desperately need.  Because He IS my shepherd, I am led and kept on the path of righteousness. 

No matter what I face, the “is-ness” of God protects, defends, provides, and guides me.  Because He IS my shepherd, “fear” is dismissed because of His presence.  His power sustains and comforts me.  A banquet is prepared for me while surrounded by a host of adversaries, and my head is anointed with the Holy Oil of the Spirit of God, and my cup overflows so that others are blessed in my being blessed.  Because He IS my shepherd, the goodness and mercy of God follow me, like a newborn lamb follows its mother and I have permanent residence in God’s presence.

When I read this Psalm, I read of God’s IS-NESS, and my heart leaps for joy because I know that HE IS and IS a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother and never leaves nor forsakes His children.  HE IS, and because HE IS, I have hope!

May God be with you as you go through your day!

TRANSFORMATION, Not REFORMATION…


Romans 12:1-2 – I urge you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice—holy, acceptable to God—which is your spiritual service. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

As I prayed and sought the LORD this past week, one thing kept coming to the forefront of my mind – – God wants to Transform us; He is not trying to Reform us.  We tend to want to reform, turn over a new leaf and modify our behavior.  God is not into modifying behavior but giving us a new nature.  He is disinterested in us reforming and doing a little better; He is interested in depositing His Spirit in our hearts, shedding His love in us, and making us New Creations in Christ Jesus.

The problems we face as individuals and as a nation will not be resolved via the Political or Electoral pathway nor by our great wisdom individually.  Those problems will ONLY be resolved through a return to God, a return to our moral foundations, and total surrender to Him.  Yes, we will continue to be involved in the electoral and political process, and we will continue to do our daily duties, but ONLY God can solve the ills of our world and the issues of our lives. 

We have directives in Scripture that provide us with the answers to life’s problems.  If we Seek God First and Foremost, He will be found.  If we follow the directive of 2 Chronicles 7:14, we will see a healing of our nation and a healing in our individual lives.  God is not interested in our laundry list of what we do; He is interested in where our hearts are.  He wants us, not just our efforts.  Faith has works, but works are not faith; they are evidence of faith.

I believe that the desire of God for 2023 is for each of us to recommit ourselves to Him fully and make our goal to dwell in His Presence every day and walk in obedience to His Word, Will, and Spirit. 

I believe there will be another pandemic in the next 12 to 18 months, and it will be worse than the coronavirus.  I believe there will be shortages during that timeframe.  Shortages of many goods and services, but even more concerning is the food shortage.  That will lead to chaos and violence.  I believe that crime will escalate over the next year, and many will fear leaving their homes.  I see dark times ahead and streets filled with angry, violent people.

However, I also see a mighty move of the Spirit of God coming. Those who ‘Hunger and Thirst for Him and His Righteousness’ will experience a spiritual awakening like never before.  Two streams will occur simultaneously, Chaos, Shortage, Destruction, and Difficulty on the one hand and a Spiritual Awakening on the other.  God will supernaturally provide for His followers in ways not dreamed of by those facing need. 

But the bottom line is that we must desire to be TRANSFORMED. Just being REFORMED will not produce Revival, Restoration, or Renewal.  I am excited about what God is going to do; even as we watch the chaos, confusion, and darkness, there will be a radiant light from God shining on our world.  Those hungry and thirsty will find nourishment and refreshing. 

2023 is going to be the year of Transformation for some and the year of attempted Reformation for others!  The path we choose will determine our end.  I encourage you to set your heart to seeking God and let nothing become more important than your relationship with Him.

This is the Day the Lord has made, and we can not only rejoice and be glad in it, but we can also stand still and watch God do His Work.  He will not leave us, nor will He forsake us!  His Promises are certain.  If He tells us to jump through a hole in the wall, it is our responsibility to jump and His to make a hole in the wall. 

God bless you!  2023 you do not scare us!  We know whom we have believed and are persuaded that He is ABLE!   

God bless you, and have a fantastic day!

TWO PARTS – FAITH & OBEDIENCE…


Numbers 23:19 – “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”  NKJV

I love the story of Balak and Balaam.  I do not like the story because of what was attempted but because of God’s incredible wisdom.  Balak was paying Balaam to curse Israel; each time Balaam would stand to do what he was being paid to do, the Lord would put a blessing in his mouth.  This infuriated Balak, and finally, Balaam uttered the words of our text. 

Remember when Saul, the King disobeyed the directive of Samuel the prophet in 1 Samuel?  I love Samuel’s way of approaching issues.  Saul had defeated the Amalekites and Agag, their king, and rather than being obedient, he spared the king and took his livestock for spoil, contrary to God’s directive through the prophet. 

Samuel showed up, and Saul gloated about his great victory and obedience to God’s directive.  Samuel looked around and asked, “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?”  “Saul, if you had been truly obedient, I wouldn’t be hearing this.” 

Saul protested that he did it to bring the livestock to sacrifice to the Lord, and the prophet said, “Be quiet!”  He let Saul know that God was not the least bit interested in his justifications for disobedience.  In 1 Samuel 15:22, he uttered words that should resonate with us daily, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD?  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.” 

This reminds me of the pastor struggling with what to do, and one of his little ladies said, “Pastor if God tells me to jump through a hole in the wall, it is my business to jump and His business to make the hole.”  William Burton McCafferty used to say, “God can pull us through anything if we can stand the pull.”  Obedience is our business making the way where there seems to be no way, Gods.  

Paul’s message to the Philippian church is revealed in his declaration in 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” and in 4:19, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus.”  It is our responsibility to OBEY.   We do not have to understand it all or even see how it will all work out.  We are to OBEY.  That obedience is out of a heart of love and confidence that God is God and will do what He does and NEVER FAILS.

Let me caution you.  I have tried to jump through some walls I wanted God to tell me to jump through, and He had not.  The result was some severe headaches and pains from trying to run through a troop and leap over a wall He had not directed me to do.  However, there have been many times when I knew in my spirit that He had given me a directive, and it seemed impossible.  In those times when I leaped, he made the hole, and victory was realized. 

Our problem, too often, is that we are not listening to that still small voice of the Spirit of God and going with what we think ought to happen or what we have been told.  We need to develop ‘spiritual hearing’ and become Obedient in all things and at all times.  It is daunting to see the wall, hear the directive to jump, and see no hole through which to go.  Yet, it is incredibly exhilarating to take a flying leap, and suddenly there is a hole for you to go through, a supernatural move of God.

If we can trust Him for our salvation.  If we can believe He created the heavens and the earth.  If we can believe that Jesus died on the Cross for our sins.  If we believe that He loves us with everlasting love, and it truly is His pleasure to give us the kingdom, why is it difficult to be obedient?  I need no credit for anything attributed to me as having accomplished in life for all that I am, all that I have, and all that I have done is the result of being Obedient and His moving on my behalf.

God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!

WHAT IS THE CHRISTIAN’S QUEST?


Philippians 3:7-11 – “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ  9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”  NKJV

There is enough here to preach for months and write an entire book, but one particular phrase leaps off the page for me.  The beginning words of v.10 scream for my attention, “…that I may know Him….”  Of course, there is more, but where better to begin, for without this reality, none of the other has meaning. 

That I may know Him is the cry of my heart, and there is an ever-growing hunger in my heart and spirit to KNOW Him.  I do not mean know about Him but to KNOW Him.  I have experienced the new birth, but I am talking about something beyond that entrance into the Family of God; I am speaking of the intimacy found in the biblical word KNOW.  In Genesis 4:1 we read, “…Adam knew Eve…”  The full meaning of the word KNEW is revealed in the following words, “and she conceived….”  He KNEW her in an intimacy that transcends knowing about but in becoming one in flesh and spirit. 

I want to KNOW Christ in an intimacy where we are so completely one that there is no distinction between Him and me.  I want to KNOW Him so intimately that His thoughts become my thoughts, and the mind in Him becomes my mind.  In the natural world, it is impossible to KNOW someone on that level without spending time with them and investing yourself in them and in the pursuit of KNOWING them. 

The critical question is, how can we KNOW Christ on that level?  We know Him through the Holy Spirit.  We know Him through prayer.  We know Him through His word.  We know Him through obedience.  We know Him through service.  We know Him through His suffering.  We know Him through His resurrection power.  We know Him by being transformed and having done all to stand, stand and follow the prescription Jesus gave in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness….”  We know Him by making Matthew 5:6 our life pursuit, “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” 

If we want something badly enough, we will make the time to pursue it, invest whatever it takes to achieve it, and devote our energy to realize it.  In relationships where love is deep and true, it is a small thing to invest energy in learning the object of our devotion and affection.  In our spiritual relationship, too often, we seem to want to KNOW Jesus, as this passage describes, without investing or divesting ourselves as required.  He must become LORD of All if He is to be LORD at all. 

Those who have trained in martial arts tell me that it requires and requires a total commitment to master the discipline and techniques to become proficient in their art.  Those who are successful in business tell me that it requires a singular devotion and commitment to the pursuit of that business to succeed.  Those who have successful marriages and relations declare that they have invested themselves in the quest to know their mates. Although it was an easy decision, it is a continual process and requires total commitment.  Knowing does not just happen; there is no shortcut to coming to KNOW.

If you are hungry to KNOW Him, you can KNOW Him on that level of intimacy, but it will not be easy, nor will it be without pain.  No one in their right mind would desire to suffer, but in KNOWING Him fully, we must KNOW His suffering, for it reveals His heart.  His suffering pulls back the veil of the WHY of the Cross and the Power of the Resurrection.  May a craving and commitment to KNOW HIM to be birthed in each of our hearts.

God bless you richly as you embark on today’s journey.

DO YOU WONDER WHAT IS HOLDING YOU BACK SPIRITUALLY?


Joshua 1:1-9 – “After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, it came to pass that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying: 2 “Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them — the children of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory. 5 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. 6 Be strong, and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 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.”   NKJV

My title question is worthy of consideration even if you do not feel you are being held back from pursuing your dreams and purposes.  I have to ask a follow-up question, “Are you reaching your full potential?”  Then, “If not, why not?”  Is there anything holding you back, spiritually or in any other way?  I hope to use this account regarding Joshua to help us see some possible hindrances personally.

Moses, Joshua’s mentor, was dead.  Joshua had inherited the mantle of leadership and was responsible for leading the nation of Israel.  Even with his experience of watching Moses and learning the positives and negatives of his role, he is clearly filled with trepidation. 

It is one thing to know you will become the person occupying the decision-making chair and another to put on that hat.  God comes to Joshua and says, “Joshua, Moses is Dead!”  Have you ever wondered why God said that?  Joshua knew that Moses was dead, but God said it to identify Joshua of something that was potentially holding him back. 

It could have been that Joshua was intimidated by the leadership style of Moses.  He may have had trepidation, fearing that the people would not respect his authority and follow his directives.  He may have questioned his own ability and even questioned his ability to clearly and truly hear God.  I do not know what was truly involved, but God first reminded him, “Moses is gone, and now it is up to you.” 

God made some powerful promises and commitments to Joshua if he would do what God directed and promised to be with him in all things and at all times.  Then God said, “Be strong and of good courage….”  Okay, that could be a simple statement of encouragement, but it might identify the seedbed of fear that was budding in his heart and mind. 

In the following sentence, God says, “…be strong and very courageous….”  This emphasized the need for courage.  But to make matters worse, in a sense, God says in verse 9, “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.”  God addressed his fear and the need for courage three times in a very short span.  Something was coming that would not be very comforting, and courageous action would be required.

I am convinced God was not simply speaking of enemies from the outside but also the unwillingness, at times, of his own people to cooperate.  Yet, I believe there was an even greater issue involved: Joshua’s heart and mind.  Thus, God said, “Moses is dead….”  Joshua could no longer rely on Moses but must now rely on God and hear God for himself.  Joshua must not step out in obedience and faith.

Many, if not most, of us need to have our Moses die so that we can move out from under the shadow and the safety of that which we have relied on and place our trust and confidence in God and God alone.  It does not have to be a person that dies, but whatever has become our security blanket.  When we reach the place and come to the position that God is our source, we will shake off the shackles that bind us and allow us to become what God has designed and desires!

God bless you richly, is my prayer!