Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
On Wednesday we took a moment to look back and ponder all that God has done for us throughout 2022. Today we will look ahead as we prepare to launch out into 2023.
Two days from now, many people you meet will greet you with the words, “Happy New Year!” That’s a nice sentiment, but if that was all that we as Christian believers had to launch out into a new year, it would be a scant portion indeed! May God be praised, we have much more than a “hopeful greeting” given to us by the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, and we see it in the promise God made to Joshua: 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 that he would inevitably face numerous challenges in leading God’s people. He had learned from Moses just how difficult the task truly was. But he also knew, just Moses did, that he would not be alone in the work God had called him to. The same is true for you and me as we begin this new year.
To be sure, a new year brings with it both questions and concerns . . . doubts and fears . . . obstacles and opportunities. Will the doctor give us a less than positive report on our health? Will we find ourselves facing professional challenges? Will our marriage of many years march on for many more? We will suffer the loss of a loved one? The list of uncertainties is long and can loom large in our minds. Yet we can hold on to something infinitely greater than a hopeful “Happy New Year!” Why? Because we have the sure and certain promise of God that wherever we go, He goes with us.
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. “In his heart a man plans his course,” Proverbs 16:9 assures us, “but the Lord determines his steps.” God is in sovereign control of everything – nothing is left to chance. All things serve Him (Psalm 119:91). The Lord our God is in charge and in control of all things, so do not be discouraged! This promise is there to help us replace every fear with faith as we look ahead into God’s perfect plan and purpose for our lives.
One final point. Approximately 1,400 years after God told Joshua that He would be with him wherever he went, Jesus reaffirmed that promise to you and me before He ascended back to heaven: “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20).
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!