Daily D – Joshua 1:9
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 1:9 (NLT)
These are fearsome times. Our present pandemic is a murderer. No nation is safe from it. No person is assured of lasting immunity.
China received a bloody nose due to the government’s behavior related to COVID-19. Will that dragon snap and bite as it seeks to recover its emerging economic dominance?
North Korea’s supreme leader was rumored to be in grave condition after heart surgery. Is this a good or bad thing for North Korea, for the region, and for the world? Would his sister be allowed to rule? Would she favor Russia or China?
Oil prices hit negative territory along with savings rates. The stock market is bouncing all over the place. Will we ever be able to retire? Will we be able to keep our jobs?
Hospitals are alternately overwhelmed and empty. Some are on the verge of bankruptcy. Will we be able to get medical care if we need it?
We could go on. Let’s not.
There is nothing as bad as God is good.
When Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy,” he said more than we most often hear or acknowledge.
Our trinitarian theology includes the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God is Father. Jesus has an exclusive relationship with the Father. John 3:16 says Jesus is the “one and only Son.” He is unique, one of a kind, there is no other like him. And yet he teaches us to pray, Our Father. Jesus includes us in the family. As a result of what he did on the cross, we are adopted, enfolded, included. We have a Father in God.
Our Father in Heaven is not a dad like me. My failures are ever before me. Even my best intentions often end up in negative territory like the stock market and oil prices. I need no other evidence that I am a sinner by nature and by choice. Our Father in heaven is not like that. He can do anything but fail. He is good all the time. All the time he is good.
When Jesus taught us to pray, “may your name be kept holy,” he meant all that our Father’s name indicates about his nature, his character, his reality, his power, his transcendence, and yes, his immanence. There are more big words we could use like immutable and ineffable. We could go on describing the attributes of our Father in heaven.
Pair this reality with Psalm 23:1: “The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need,” (NLT).
- “I shall not want,” (ESV)
- “I lack nothing,” (NIV)
- “I have what I need,” (CSB)
- “I don’t need a thing,” (MSG).
We are commanded to be strong.
We are commanded to be courageous.
We are commanded not to be afraid.
We are commanded not to be discouraged.
We are promised God’s presence wherever we go.
God goes with us as the Father.
God goes with us as our Father.
God goes with us as our Father in heaven.
God goes with us as our Father in heaven who is always and forever infinitely better than anything is bad.
We have all we need.
We have all we want.
We have no lack.
Fear, be afraid. The Light is coming to vanquish your shadow.
I will live fearlessly.
Our Father, may we understand better and better how good you are. May we live in ever greater confidence no matter the challenges we face. Teach us to trust you and obey you when you tell us to “Be strong and courageous.” Amen.
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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”