The Israelites are commanded to not fear. To not be in dread of the nations that live in the land they are going to possess. Moses says God will go with the Israelites, that God will drive out and destroy the peoples that stand against them. The job of the Israelites is to not fear. To believe God. To be strong and courageous because of what they know of their God. To believe His Word, which would show by obeying it.
Moses said that God would not leave them nor forsake them. Joshua is going to be taking over for Moses. He gets the promises that God will not leave him and the commands to not fear delivered again personally just to him. They are all commanded, “Do not be dismayed. Be courageous.” They couldn’t be commanded to do those things if they were out of their control. They had a choice to make.
God then tells Moses that they will make the wrong choice. They will seek after other gods in the lands they are going into.
God sees the future and knows that they will disobey His commands and bad things will happen and so they will turn to other gods to try and get what they want. And God says that in that day He will hide His face from them and forsake them. So, in the beginning of the chapter they have the word that God will never leave nor forsake them. Then we have God saying He will do just that.
Is God breaking a promise? God can’t lie. God can’t not be faithful. God can’t break His promises. Before God forsakes them, they forsake Him. They will turn to other gods, forsake the Lord, and break the covenant with God.
They will say that God is not among them because of their troubles and turn to other gods. When they are calling out and seeking other gods, the one true God, the Lord Most High, cannot answer. He won’t answer a call to another god. When they repent and turn back and call out to Him, He will hear and answer them. But as long as they are seeking other gods, they won’t find Him. While they are crying out to other gods to save them, God won’t hear and rescue. It’s not God’s choice to walk away. It’s His people’s.
We don’t know if our hearts are set on following Jesus until the times of trouble when it seems like He’s left us, when it seems like He’s not there, not answering, not fulfilling His promises.
When the enemies loom large, do you trust and obey and rejoice? Or do you fear and turn away, seeking your own means of salvation? He will never leave nor forsake you. Don’t leave and forsake Him.