“Be strong and courageous. Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Back to school. For some it is pretty exciting; for others it is downright intimidating. Anything new and unfamiliar must be approached carefully and with due respect because of what is certainly unknown at least in the beginning.
Joshua was about to lead Israel into the Promised Land. Moses was no longer with them, so it is easy to imagine the people and even Joshua to be a little disoriented and uncertain about what is ahead of them. Moses had led Israel for 40 years, so they had become accustomed to certain ways in terms of journey. Now they were about to settle in a land which was already occupied. Later spies would report “giants” in the land!
The Lord needed to assure Joshua, however, that even though Moses had been the leader for so long, it was actually the Lord and His Covenant which the people had become a part of during that long 40 years. Moses’ time had passed just as others had passed during the long journey, but the Lord was still with them in the new chapter that was about to unfold.
These words of encouragement were spoken to Joshua within a specific context, but we may also be assured by these same words as we enter into a new realm of possibilities. Children will meet new teachers, make new friends, and learn new things; and teachers will be faced with the new challenges that come with so many new and different personalities (as well as new state mandates!). And all will be uncertain about how it will all come together.
The Lord did not give Joshua any real clues about what the new land would look like with the people of Israel, but the Lord was clear about what it could look like if they tried to face the new land and new challenges without the Lord. And this is the essence of what it means to live by faith; being unsure about what lies ahead, but being absolutely assured the “Lord your God is with you wherever you go”. As long as we “go” with the Lord and in the Lord’s Name.
Blessings on all new teachers, experienced teachers, and students! Be strong and courageous, for the Lord is with you!