Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
Last Friday we took “A Backward Glance” consider the wonders that God had done throughout 2018. Today we let’s invest some time in thinking about our “forward march” as we prepare to launch out into 2019.
Tomorrow, January 1, 2019, if you’re out in the community, you will likely be greeted with a cheery “Happy New Year!” by many people you encounter. That’s a pleasant thought, but if a mere wish for a happy new year is all Christian believers had to launch out into a new year, it would be a skimpy portion indeed! But thanks be to God, Christians have a lot more than just a hopeful greeting given to us by the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. Today’s verse reminds us of God’s promise to Joshua: “I will be with you wherever you go.”
You may remember that, after Moses had completed his ministry of service to God, Joshua was preparing to lead the people of Israel into the Promised Land. Joshua was well aware of the challenges he would inevitably face in leading God’s people. He had learned from Moses just how difficult the task would be. But Joshua also knew, as Moses did, that he would not be on his own in performing the work God had called him to do.
The same is true for you and me as we begin our forward march into this new year. To be sure, the year ahead will bring both questions and concerns . . . doubts and fears . . . obstacles and opportunities. Will the doctor give you a less than positive report on your health? Will you be confronted with professional or financial challenges? Will your marriage of many years march on for many more? Will you suffer the loss of a loved one? The list of looming uncertainties is long. But no matter! We can hold on to something greater than the hope for a “Happy New Year” because we have God’s promise that wherever we go, He goes with us.
I want you to remember something about that promise: “Going with God” is not going by chancel; it is not a random roll of the dice. God is guiding, governing, and directing your every step. “A man’s steps are directed by the Lord,” Scripture assures us. “How then can anyone understand his own way?” (Proverbs 20:24). God is in sovereign control of everything; not a bird falls to the ground apart from His will (Matthew 10:29). Nothing in life is left to chance. So do not be discouraged, even when the waves of challenge are washing over your life. His promise to be with us wherever we go encourages us to exchange every doubt and fear for faith and hope throughout our forward march into God perfect plan and purpose for our lives.
One final point: Some 3,400 years after God told Joshua that He would be with him wherever he went, Jesus reaffirmed that promise before He ascended back to heaven: “Surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
Forward, march! Your Master will always be at your side.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!