Strength and Courage

At this hour we may well recall the words of strong assurance spoken by Moses to the people whom he was leading toward the realization of freedom, and that, too, in the face of their enemies. He said: "Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee." We find these inspired words repeated by Joshua after he had taken command of the tribes, and this was added to Moses' words: "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success."

A superficial reading of the Old Testament might leave with us the impression that the children of Israel in their journeyings from Egypt into the promised land were simply bent on material conquest, as were those who had preceded them, and it is more than likely that a great many of the people were not sufficiently advanced spiritually to see any farther than this; hence their ceaseless disappointments and their long delays in realizing the good which they sought. If, however, we seek the truer meaning of the inspired word, we shall find that the real children of Israel were not represented by "Israel after the flesh." We must therefore think of this people as the pioneers of pure and undefiled religion based upon spiritual law, for we shall then better understand what they undertook to do and what they accomplished. It cannot be denied that so long as Israel kept the light of a pure spiritual ideal burning upon their altars, their enemies vanished before them, and peace and prosperity characterized them as a people; indeed the very reason for their national existence was that they might themselves hold sacred this divine ideal and extend its blessings to all the nations of the earth as they were ready to receive them. Had not God made this promise to Abraham: "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed"?

Among the Churches
May 25, 1918

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