Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
On Monday we took a brief “look back” to ponder the wonders that God had done throughout 2019. Today we will look ahead as we prepare to launch out into 2020.
A common greeting you will hear on New Year’s Day from those you come in contact with is “Happy New Year!” Yet if that was all we as believers had to propel us into a new year, it would be a meager portion indeed. Christians have much more than a “hopeful greeting” given to us by the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. In our verse for today, we have the promise given to Joshua by God: I will be with you wherever you go.
You may remember that Joshua was preparing to lead the people of Israel into the Promised Land after Moses had completed his ministry of service to God. Joshua knew quite well the challenges he would face in leading God’s people; as Moses’ protégé, he had seen just how difficult that task would be. But he also knew, just as Moses did, that he would not be alone in the work God had called him to do, for the Sovereign Lord had promised to be with him wherever he went.
And the same is true for you and me as we begin this new year. To be sure, 2020 brings both questions and concerns, doubts and fears, obstacles and opportunities. Will we receive a clean bill of health from the doctor . . . or a less than positive report on our health? Will we receive that promotion we’d hoped for . . . or find ourselves facing professional challenges? Will our marriage of many years march on for many more . . . or will it collapse? We will celebrate the birth of a child we’d prayed for . . . or suffer the loss of a loved one? The list of uncertainties is indeed endless. Yet we can hold on to something infinitely greater than a hopeful, “Happy New Year!” Why? Because we have God’s promise that wherever we go, He goes with us. This is a promise we have received time and time again in sacred Scripture.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
In that promise, I want you to remember something. This “going with God” is not a going by chance. It is not a random roll of the dice. God is guiding, governing, and directing your every step. He is in sovereign control of everything; nothing is left to chance. Your God is in charge and in control of all things, so do not be discouraged. This promise strengthens us to brush aside every fear as we “look ahead” into God perfect plan and purpose for our lives throughout the year ahead.
One final point. More than 3,000 years after God told Joshua that He would be with him wherever he went, Jesus reaffirmed that promise for all His followers when He said, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!