Wilderness Wandering and New Leadership
Open Your Bible
Deuteronomy 2:24-37, Deuteronomy 3:1-29, Hebrews 3:13-19
Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 2:24-37, Deuteronomy 3:1-29, Hebrews 3:13-19
As he prepares the Israelites for the promised land, Moses recalls past events from the nation’s wanderings in the wilderness, including the defeat of two powerful kings. Knowing that Israel would encounter more enemies, Moses encourages Joshua, who would lead the people, to trust in the Lord’s direction. Just as God had given Israel victory over Sihon and Og, He would give Joshua and the Israelites victory over anyone that came against them as they journeyed to their new land.
Don’t be afraid of them, for the LORD your God fights for you (Deuteronomy 3:22).
I can only imagine how encouraging Moses’s words must have been to Joshua and to the Israelites. He assures the new leader that the Lord will bring future victory by reminding him of the Lord’s faithful protection in the past, which Joshua had himself witnessed (v.21).
Moses’s words are encouraging to us, as well. Remembering what God has done in the past helps us to trust Him in the present and into the future. Moses also reminds us of what it means for a people to belong to the Lord. “Your God fights for you” (v.22). This is what His covenant loyalty to His people looks like—His presence and His protection are with us, always.
Israel wasn’t the biggest nation, let alone the most powerful. None of that mattered, because God was on their side. We’re not in quite the same situation as Israel, where settling into our new home involves defeating some of the most powerful nations around us. But we do encounter opposition and hard seasons in life that can make us feel small and powerless. However, here’s the truth: the same God that fought for Israel in the wilderness is the same God who promises to protect us.
As powerful as remembrance can be, there’s a danger in forgetting, of failing to intentionally remember God’s goodness in our lives. If we forget who we are and who God is to us, we can go through life with doubt and unbelief. Instead of facing life’s challenges with confidence in God’s help, we’ll feel defeated before we’ve even begun. Or, we’ll be tempted to lean on our own strength, which can lead to ill-gotten outcomes.
That’s why we all need a Moses in our life, someone who helps us view our present and future through faith-filled lenses. Just as importantly, we also need to be a Moses to the people in our lives, using remembrance of God’s past faithfulness in their lives as a buoy for their faith. When we remind other believers of the goodness of God, He is at work in us—bringing hope to those in despair and shining His light in the darkest of situations.
Written by Tameshia Williams