You have heard
Hear, O Israel. You are now about to cross the Jordan to go in and dispossess nations greater and stronger than you, with large cities that have walls up to the sky. The people are strong and tall – Anakites! You know about them and have heard it said: “Who can stand up against the Anakites?” But be assured today that the LORD your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly, as the LORD has promised you.
As the people of Israel get ready to finally cross into the Promised Land, Moses revisits a painful chapter in the history of the Israelites. Forty years earlier they had stood at that same spot ready to enter the Promised Land. The spies, however, brought back the discouraging report that although the land was indeed wonderful, it was full of giants and well-fortified cities. Ten of the twelve concluded that it would be impossible for them to invade and occupy such a well-defended land. The people heard the report of these spies and lost heart and hope. You know the rest of the story – how they wandered in the desert for forty years until everyone of that generation (except Moses, Joshua and Caleb) had died in the desert. So much hope and expectation came to naught because of unbelief and doubt.
And now Moses amazingly confirms that the ten spies were right! The people were indeed strong and tall. The city walls were indeed impregnable. He said to the people: you have heard all those things, and they are true. But then he said there was something else they should also know: “The Lord [their] God… goes ahead of [them] like a devouring fire” and because of Him, they would succeed against all odds!
“You have heard.…” How many times have we heard, or come face-to-face with bad news, impossible situations, hopeless odds? Whichever way it was looked at, the facts spoke plainly enough. There was simply no way to overcome the challenges ahead or get out of that situation. We looked at the facts and we lost heart and hope. We allowed ourselves to be filled with doubt; we gave unbelief a foothold.
Now God wants us to revisit those past experiences to prepare us as we move forward.
He wants to remind us that though the facts we have heard are true enough, there is another reality at work in our lives, and that reality is God Himself. He Himself goes ahead of us like a devouring fire!
We need to strengthen our hearts with the knowledge that the Lord is with us. We are safe. We are able to overcome. We will succeed. Just trust God and obey Him and you WILL take hold of the promises of God – not because you are better, stronger or wiser but because God is with you!
Jesus loves you. Be blessed today. Know that no matter what happens, your God is a devouring fire around you. You are safe. You are an overcomer. It will be well.