“The LORD your God Himself crosses over before you; He will destroy these nations from before you, and you shall dispossess them. Joshua himself crosses over before you, just as the LORD has said.”
“And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”
Last night as I was reading, I wept again for the gospel of Christ. Here was I, a broken sinner, saved by the beloved Son of God–saved for no other reason than just that He loves me and desires my presence with Him. Out of a well of mercy so deep and so vast, my Lord God drew a draught for me, a sip of the Water of Life that to this day revives my soul and restores my hope. This grace so without measure causes me to weep for joy that I am so loved, and it causes me to weep for shame that I could ever have doubted this God who saves me. I weep, too, for those who even today deny, refuse, and blaspheme the holy name of my Lord Jesus. Do they not know? Have they not heard?
Lift up your eyes on high,
And see who has created these things,
Who brings out their host by number;
He calls them all by name,
By the greatness of His might
And the strength of His power;
Not one is missing.
This everlasting God, this God who out of His power and mercy heals and strengthens, this same God who holds the stars in the very sky over our heads–He seeks to know us and be known, He seeks to save us from the very sin that condemns us. That is the true good news, the BEST news, that this God who laid the celestial bodies in their courses, this God who created the laws of physics and biology, this same God reaches out His hand with grace to pick us up and set us on the broad place, to place our feet upon the solid rock of Christ Jesus. And this Christ, this Messiah, this Lamb of God, has sworn by His Father that He will be with us even unto the end of the age.
And the LORD said to Moses: “Behold, you will rest with your fathers; and this people will rise and play the harlot with the gods of the foreigners of the land, where they go to be among them, and they will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them.”
Before us today is a wild land, a dangerous place of discontent, disbelief, and people disheartened by philosophies that do nothing to set their souls free. Beyond this Jordan is a land that once knew God but now gives herself away to any and all gods who promise brief satisfaction. We stand here before the tabernacle of our God, and we look where Moses is pointing–at this lawless land, this place of idols and false prophets, this Promised Land–and we fear to speak.
“Speak for us!” we cry to our pastors and priests. “We fear the Lord our God, but we dare not speak in His name. We do not know Him so well as to speak on His behalf.”
But HE knows US, and He is with us. This place in which we fear to tread, this fearsome land where the name of God is blasphemed more often than praised–we do not enter it alone. But enter it we must, for the Lord Jesus told us to preach the gospel to every creature–not just to our neighbor, not just to our friend, but to every thing that draws breath. Jesus has gone this way before us, facing the wrath of unbelieving Jews and pagan Romans, facing the persecution of a violent mob, facing the unbelievable task of not only teaching sinners to share His love but also of taking their sin upon Himself unto death and into new life.
This America in which we stand is ours for the taking, for the Lord our God goes before us. He has given us His Word and His grace, and no power of man nor scheme of hell shall prevail against the gospel of our Savior. Why then do we fear to speak? Why then do we hide from being heard, from standing up as warriors on behalf of our God and Savior? Why is the voice of atheism and blasphemy and money-worship louder than the voice of the faithful?
Is there not a cause? Does not the Philistine who blasphemes our Lord deserve to be struck down? Have we not five stones in our pocket and the power of God Himself to protect us?
When Moses spoke to Israel and Joshua on his final day with them, he told them not to fear the Canaanites, not to fear to go into this land and take possession of it as their inheritance. He told them to not be afraid to raise their swords in the name of the Lord and take back from the godless the land that had been promised to Abraham generations ago. He told Joshua to remember that this God who blessed their fathers would be with him always, would never leave nor forsake those who loved His name.
And yet we are silent. We allow the enemies of God to speak louder than we. We shy from voting our conscience that is influenced by the Holy Spirit of God. We allow “tolerance” and “enlightenment” to be our new gods, and we bow our necks before the altars of commerce and fame even as we hold within our hearts the name of Jesus, Son of God. Blasphemy! Heresy! Betrayal! It has been said by some that this is no longer a Christian land. They are right! This is a land of cowards, and Christ was no coward! How can we love the Lord with one hand and feed His enemies with the other? How can we claim the name “Christian” and yet not speak as Christ spoke, walk as He walked, die as He died for what was right in the eyes of God the Father?
Moses points at this land and says to you and to me, “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
It is time for us to stand up, to put on the whole armor of God–His truth, His righteousness, His gospel, His faith, His salvation–and take up the sword of the Spirit, which is His Word, and take possession of this land before us. We can no longer afford to be silent, no longer allow the altars to stand on the high places, no longer bear the yoke of slavery to political correctness and tolerance and false love. The Lord our God sees the abominations that happen here, and He is offended by this place. No longer should we fear, no longer cower and quake. We must be strong in the Lord and cross over this Jordan, to dispossess the ungodly and take back this land in the name of the Lord God.
26 “There is no one like the God of Jeshurun,
Who rides the heavens to help you,
And in His excellency on the clouds.
27 “The eternal God is your refuge,
And underneath are the everlasting arms;
He will thrust out the enemy from before you,
And will say, ‘Destroy!’
28 “Then Israel shall dwell in safety,
The fountain of Jacob alone,
In a land of grain and new wine;
His heavens shall also drop dew.
29 “Happy are you, O Israel!
Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD,
The shield of your help
And the sword of your majesty!
Your enemies shall submit to you,
And you shall tread down their high places.”
Lord God Almighty, bring Your strength to this weakened people. Rain down more than Your mercy, more than Your grace–bring us Your courage and Your power. Cause these new hearts You have given us to quicken with the beat of the drums of God. Teach us to be Your army, just as You taught the brickmaker Joshua to be the general of the armies of Israel, just as You taught the shepherd David to be a king. Write Your name upon our foreheads so that no one can mistake that we serve only You, and let us possess this land once again in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.