8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
The phrase “have I not commanded you?” really stuck out to me this time because it is a reminder for me that I should be doing what I need to be doing…loving God, loving others, casting off sin, and putting on the fruit of the Spirit. Now I know that the verse is saying be strong and courageous, but bear with me and we will come back to this point.
In verse 9 the author is referring to the countless times that God has commanded the people of Israel to be strong and courageous. In fact my Bible lists at least five times that God instructed Israel to not fear in Deuteronomy (1:21; 7:29; 20:3; 31:6, 8). They were not trusting that God was there with them, that He would do what he promised, and that He had their best in mind. I hear this stern but gentle reminder to them to read the Law again, to not forget, to rely on God.
Here I am sitting on a comfy orange couch reading the words– be strong, be courageous, be not dismayed. I am not facing death or war or conquest. My battle is the sin in my life, how to live in the world but not of the world, and how to love others that are not like me.
Be strong and courageous to cast off the sin that so easily entangles.
Be strong and courageous to put on the fruit of the Spirit– love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22).
Do not be dismayed for the Spirit has enabled you to no longer be a slave to sin (Romans 6:17-18).