Strength and Courage: Deuteronomy 31:1-14

Deuteronomy 31:1‑14  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Deuteronomy 31:1-141And Moses went and spake these words unto all Israel. 2And he said unto them, I am an hundred and twenty years old this day; I can no more go out and come in: also the Lord hath said unto me, Thou shalt not go over this Jordan. 3The Lord thy God, he will go over before thee, and he will destroy these nations from before thee, and thou shalt possess them: and Joshua, he shall go over before thee, as the Lord hath said. 4And the Lord shall do unto them as he did to Sihon and to Og, kings of the Amorites, and unto the land of them, whom he destroyed. 5And the Lord shall give them up before your face, that ye may do unto them according unto all the commandments which I have commanded you. 6Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. 7And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the Lord hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it. 8And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed. 9And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and unto all the elders of Israel. 10And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, 11When all Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: 13And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it. 14And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, thy days approach that thou must die: call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of the congregation, that I may give him a charge. And Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the tabernacle of the congregation. (Deuteronomy 31:1‑14)
Moses continued his exhortation to the people, for he fully realized the difficulties of the path. And yet he knew the strength of the One who had brought them out of Egypt to bring them in to Canaan. He spoke of his own great age and of how he could not lead them any longer, but he said, “the Lord thy God, He will go over before thee.” There may be those whom we have looked up to and are now gone, but their parting word is like that of Moses, as it were, “Look to the Lord.” He will never fail, for His “years are throughout all generations” (Psalm 102: 24). God did, however, in His goodness raise up another to lead His people. It was Joshua. They were, nevertheless, not to look at him as the one who would give them the land, but only as the instrument through whom the Lord would give it to them. It is lovely to see Moses at a time like this speaking so nicely of the one who was to take up this wonderful work of leading the people of God. There is so much envy and jealousy in our natural hearts that we are sometimes slow to acknowledge the service of others, but it is surely a precious fruit of grace to see those who rejoice to find others raised up of the Lord to carry on the work they are no longer able to do. May the Lord deliver those of us who serve Him, from any thought of our own importance and give us to realize it is the Lord’s work, and He can use whom He pleases. He can do without any of us, no matter how important our labor may seem to be!
Exhortations to Confidence in the Lord
The people are reminded of how the Lord had already given them the victory over Sihon and Og, and He was able to give them the victory in the land which He had promised to them. They are therefore exhorted, “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, He it is that doth go before thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” How much we need exhortations like this today! The power of the enemy seems to be increasing almost daily, and fresh difficulties are arising on every hand, but the Lord is faithful, and when our eyes are upon Him we can press on with courage and confidence, knowing He will never fail. Let us not lose heart, but always count upon God to undertake every step of the way.
Walking With God in Secret
After giving this word to the people Moses then called Joshua and exhorted him personally. If we are to go on in that quiet confidence which is so needful, we need to walk with God in secret. We need the daily reading of His Word and prayer in the privacy of our own rooms if we are to have power and courage before others. It is one thing to know the truth, and even to be able to expound it publicly, but it is quite another thing to be walking in it in the secret of our own souls. It is in the way that we keep ourselves in the love of God (Jude 2121Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. (Jude 21)), and only in this way, that we can be able to be a help to others and point them to the Lord, as to One whom we have found to be our all in all.
The priests, the sons of Levi were then commanded to read the Word to the people at the feast of tabernacles. Men, women, and children were all to be present to hear the Word read. Let us not neglect the assembling of ourselves together, for if it was important for Israel, it is surely needful for us too.
Further Meditations
1. Who was to take up the work of leading the people of God after Moses?
2. The quiet, practical, private walk with God in our hearts is a real secret of spiritual power. What does God have to say in His Word about our thoughts, hearts and feelings? You can start your search into what He really values in Malachi 3.
3. Hudson Taylor was a man who in many ways lived a life of deep faith and piety. You can learn a lot from that inner walk with God in the book Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor.