If you’re of a certain age, you will remember a TV show called “Different Strokes”. The main character, Arnold Jackson played by Gary Coleman, had a line that he always used when his brother Willis, played by Todd Bridges, would say something odd. And that line was “What you talkin’ bout Willis?”.
God gives me scriptures and topics for my blog all the time. But He doesn’t always give the reflection at the same time. Sometimes I see the meaning or the lesson right away. Other times it sits on the list and I’m thinking “What you talkin’ bout God?”.
Deuteronomy 31:6 is one of those scriptures. God gave it to me in early October doing my devotion time. I was in Deuteronomy because I was studying this whole matter of clinging to God after attending a women’s conference where I heard Kim Cash Tate talk about clinging to Him. By the way, if you’re not familiar with her ministry, you need to check the sister out!
What struck me about Deuteronomy 31:6 is that God repeats himself in verse 7. In the NIV, it reads:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Then verse 7b reads: “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance.”
I’m not a trained Bible scholar by any stretch of the imagination. But I did grow up with a Black mama and am one myself. And I know when an authority figure says something twice, you’d be wise to pay attention!
I pondered and studied what God could mean by being strong and courageous. In this section of Deuteronomy, Joshua is facing some tough odds. I mean he must succeed the icon Moses and lead these wayward people. If I’m being perfectly honest, I’d be feeling some kind of way about this whole situation. But on a closer read, I came to understand that the first directive to be strong and of good courage is to the people. The second time, God is speaking directly to Joshua.
This is why I love God. When He decides to drop revelation into me, it is always the perfect time. Today is my birthday. I’ve been thinking all week that Year 56 taught me a whole lot about myself. This morning in my devotion time, I asked God what words would sum of the lessons for the past year. He said: Courage and Faith. And then he reminded me of these verses that make sense now when they didn’t make sense earlier.
As Year 57 starts, I’m grateful for the challenges that Year 56 presented. Without those challenges, I would never have known the importance of going deeper in my faith. I thank my good sorority sister, Candance Cooper, for introducing me to Pastor Mike Todd of Transformation Church. Their teaching on Crazy Faith literally opened my eyes and took me from baby faith to a whole new level of faith. It’s pretty simple actually…the more I trust, the more my faith grows. The more my faith grows, the more courage I have to walk in the purpose that God has predestined for me. I am not strong because of any skills that I have. I can be strong and courageous because He goes before me. The NLT version says it best:
“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
I don’t know what challenges you may be facing that require strength and courage. Whatever they are, just know that OUR God goes PERSONALLY before us.