Rising Up

God is good.
God is faithful.
God is present.

Here’s why I know and believe that right now: He is all of these things in the midst of the unknown as well as the known. He is all those things in the the middle of the day and in the darkest of nights. He has shown me this time and time again. My God does not change, so I can be confident that His goodness, faithfulness, and presence will not fail. How cool and crazy and wonderful is that?!
I was given the opportunity to learn how to effectively teach the Bible in my internship this summer and then to practice in front of the other interns. My passage was Joshua 1:1-9. After procrastinating a little too much, I started working on it the Saturday before my talk on Wednesday. I studied who Joshua was, what his situation looked like, and what the Lord was saying to him.
Here’s the gist: Joshua had just been commissioned to lead the Israelites as they entered into the Promised Land. Moses had been such a phenomenal leader that I can imagine Joshua was facing feelings of inadequacy, fear of failure, and fear that he wouldn’t be able to rise up to this responsibility. Although he had already proven himself to be a wonderful military leader and trusted in the Lord, he probably still feared failing his people. (Think of Trevor Lawrence taking over as quarterback for Clemson, knowing how well they had done last season. What can I say, go Tigers!)
When I looked at God’s response to Joshua, I saw His goodness, faithfulness, and assurance of His presence written all over it. In verses 3 and 6 He reminded Joshua that He had kept his promises all along, and that He will continue to do so. Verses 5 and 9 remind Joshua that God will be with him as he moves forward. He doesn’t just tell Joshua how to lead the people, but tells him in verse 6 how Joshua was going to do that: by being strong and courageous. And how was he going to be strong and courageous? By carefully obeying and studying the Law as outlined in verses 7 and 8.
And what’s even crazier is that these promises that God spoke to Joshua, Jesus spoke to his disciples in Matthew 28:20: “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” The disciples were losing their leader and probably felt inadequate to carry the message, similar to Joshua in his feelings of fear and inadequacy. God reminded Joshua that He would be with him. Jesus reminded the disciples that He would be with them as well. And we know that He is with us, too. These same promises given to Joshua and the disciples are extended to you and me.
Friends, we cannot rise up to challenges without being in the Word of God, seeing how He is good, faithful, and present in our lives.
The same hope that was in Joshua is in us. The same God who was good to Joshua is good to us. The same God who understood Joshua understands us and wants to assure us of His presence. The God who did not break His promises to Joshua will not break them with us.
So, why do we doubt God’s presence? We don’t believe that He is good, faithful, and present. How do we rise up to a challenge that seems to be too big to face up to? We believe the He is good, faithful, and present. And what does God do about it? He assures us of his goodness, faithfulness, and presence.
As Paul David Tripp so wonderfully states in his awesome devotional book New Morning Mercies, “God will call you to do what you cannot do, but will provide everything you need to do it.” Such truth.
Little did I know that weeks ago when I chose to teach this passage that this week would be one where I really needed to be reminded of that. That in itself shows God’s goodness, faithfulness, and presence so clearly to me right now. It really is so sweet to trust in Jesus!

Eyes up, friends!

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