Have I Not?
So often in life, we seem to be our own stumbling block in getting things accomplished that we know we should. We don’t exercise because we make up excuses. We don’t save up because we find distractions. We don’t accomplish some of our loftiest goals because we are afraid of failure.
What if we had the courage to accomplish things because God told us we could do it? How much more could we do for God if we remembered that He told us to do it? There are several places in scripture where God did just that for people.
When Joshua was commissioned to lead the people into Canaan, he had a lot to worry about. What if the people rebel? After all, they had before. What if they didn’t respect him? They had respected Moses, but he was dead. What if he made wrong decisions and made God angry? Joshua had seen that happen many times. God went to extraordinary lengths to make sure Joshua had the courage to lead the people. (Joshua 1:2-9) “Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.”
God’s promise was that Joshua could accomplish all that he was sent to do. But where was the proof? How could Joshua know that he would succeed? “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for YHWH your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) Joshua could succeed because God had commanded him.
Similarly, another leader named Gideon was sent to deliver the people. This man was predisposed to be afraid, given the time and circumstances under which he lived. (Judges 6:11-16) Gideon had every excuse in the book. His tribe was too small, he was too young, the Midianites were too large. God’s response, however, was to have courage. “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?” (Judges 6:14)
When it seemed like God’s people would never again have success as a nation, God promised them deliverance. Being in Babylonian captivity would seem like the end of the road, but God promised that He would deliver them and return a remnant to Jerusalem. (Isaiah 44:1-8) They could know it was true, because He had promised it long ago. And there was no God who could do the things He did. “Do not tremble and do not be afraid; Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it?” (Isaiah 44:8)
If Joshua could accomplish great things because God had commanded Him, what can we accomplish that He has commanded? If Gideon would be able to deliver the people because God sent Him, where can we go because God has sent us? If Israel could know their salvation was real because God promised it, what can we know? Let us not tremble and be afraid. Is He not with us?