God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at the break of day…The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Psalm 46:5,7
Can I just say that Psalm 46 has become my new favorite! If you have the time today, sit with the whole psalm. Emmanuel is all over it! I could talk about this psalm for days…so hard to narrow down a focus for us today. The context of this Psalm reminds me of the battle between king Hezekiah and the Assyrians from yesterday. Jerusalem is threatened. Daybreak was a common time of battle back then. The psalmist declares that God is within her. I know that this refers to Jerusalem, but it’s so rare to see “her” in the Bible. It just catches my attention and I want to put my name in here…anyone else with me, ladies?! With the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, I feel like we can indeed take this to mean us! God is within each of us! We will not fall. He will help us at the break of day! I struggle with anxiety and at times, my mornings can feel like an uphill battle, feeling overwhelmed and like I’m failing before I step out of bed. This verse is one I want to commit to memory and say on those tough days…God is within me! I will not fall! God will help me as the battles surround me! He is with me! He is my fortress! Let’s walk into this busy, often overwhelming and sweet season today with that confidence!
Father, Emmanuel, thank you for the power of your Holy Spirit in us like a river of life. Thank you that you keep us from falling, that you fight our battles with us and for us. Thank you that our souls are safe in your hands. We ask that you’d give us a peace that passes understanding in this hectic season. Help us to love on the people in our lives with your love and rest in the powerful stillness of your presence.
With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and fight our battles. 2 Chronicles 32:8
King Hezekiah is one of the good kings of Judah who follows God’s way and destroys the alters and high places of false gods. The king of Assyria lays siege to the city of Jerusalem during Hezekiah’s reign. Hezekiah quickly sets to work, diligently getting the city ready for battle. When he assembles all his leaders and soldiers, he speaks these works to them. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him.” Sound familiar? Again and again, we are reminded in the Old Testament that God fights his people’s battles. He is the one who brings the victory to his people, despite absurd odds. The people are told to have courage when their eyes scanned the vast army and fear crept in. The King of Assyria only has the strength of people on his side, but God is on the side of Judah! As the siege continues, the Assyrians fling insult after insult at God and try their best to terrify the people. Hezekiah and Isaiah pray together and the Lord answers mightily! The Word says that God sent and angel and annihilated all the fighting men, officers, and leaders of the Assyrian army. The king returns home in disgrace. God brought peace to Hezekiah and Judah. What can we take away from this story for our lives? Let’s be like Hezekiah and walk uprightly before the Lord. Let’s do the work before us…preparing for battle…and when life gets tough, let’s hit our knees together. Let’s cry out to our powerful Father to bring victory!
Lord, thank you that you are with us. In the struggles we face daily, we need you. Help us to walk rightly with you as Hezekiah did and to come to you first when trouble hits. Father, in you we have power greater than any enemy. Grow our faith to see that victory rests solely in your hands, not our own. Thank you for being with us always.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
Forty years have passed since Joshua and Caleb explored the promised land and the people rebelled against God. They have wandered in the desert for forty long, sandy years, learning to trust God more, and waiting for God’s timing to bring them into their future home. Moses has died and Joshua is now leading the people of Israel. The time has come finally arrived to enter the land. At this moment, God speaks to Joshua. The gist of God’s message…do not be afraid; be strong and courageous; know and follow God’s Word exactly; I will go with you wherever you go. What jumps out at me is how many times God tells him to not be afraid. Here’s the man who stood up with courage all those years ago. Even with great faith, one can still battle great fear. It’s a daily battle to lay down our fears and take up courage and remind ourselves that God is with us. Our fears urgently plea to be heard and followed, but when we are walking along where God leads, he will lift our heads and guide us in paths of victory. Shortly after God speaks to Joshua the people conquer their most feared opponent, Jericho. Following God’s lead, the people hardly fight at all. They walk around with God, blow horns, and shout at the top of their lungs…nothing their own understanding would have led them to do. But with God, nothing is impossible. With God, impenetrable walls crumble, giants fall, and victories come in the most unexpected ways! Let’s take courage and lay down fear today. Let’s remember who leads us to victory and walks with us each and every step of the way. God is with us today, my friends! I am so thankful for Emmanuel!
Father, lift our heads to see you when we are afraid. Help us to be strong and courageous as we face life today. You lead us to victory. Help us to trust you even when it’s difficult and we want to try to control it. Help us to follow your Word, your gentle leading. Lord, we thank you for being with us wherever we go. Whatever we face, help us to rest in your leading and direction.
Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them.
The Hebrews arrive at the border of the promise land (the first time) and they send 12 spies to scout out the land for forty days. Just as the Lord has promised, it is lush and bountiful, just as they dreamed. Yet, the people of the land are mighty, some are even near giants. Ten of the twelve spies are terrified and spread fear among the people to not go up and take the land God promised them. At this moment, Caleb and Joshua, the only two spies with hope, speak to the assembled people these words. Do not be afraid of them…the Lord is with us.
The people compared the battle ahead to their own weakness while Caleb and Joshua compared the battle to God’s strength. Sadly, the people went their own way and followed their fear. Caleb and Joshua led the next generation into the same promise land forty years later. I would like to ask us the same question they were met with years ago. Do we compare our struggles to our own weakness or to God’s mighty power and understanding? When God is with us, who can defeat us? With God at our side, what giants will tremble and fall? In your life today, what giants loom over you and cause you to shake with fear? Take some time to rest in the fact that God Almighty is with you in that battle you face today. Let’s invite him to take the reigns and lead on.
Lord God, we face giants each day of our lives. Please walk ahead of us in battle and give us faith like Joshua and Caleb to see our struggles compared to your mighty strength rather than our own weakness. Give us the courage to believe you truly can bring victory and freedom.
Hi. I'm Maggie. Current hats: Wife, mom, artist and starting this week, a devotional writer! Enthusiastic, creative, focused. I love chai tea lattes, and authentic conversations.