"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9)
Moses, perhaps the greatest of all the leaders of the children of Israel, is dead. Joshua has been appointed as his successor and he finds himself with the responsibility of leading hundreds of thousands of people into the land of promise. The job is new, the task is daunting! He is passing through uncharted territories in his own life and there is the prospect of the enemies that lay ahead and would need to be faced.
Does this sound familiar? Is this not where much of the population of planet Earth finds itself today? We find ourselves moving forward into territories and we have ‘never been this way before’ (Joshua 3:4). And what about the ‘enemies’? Today, some of you will be very afraid of this new ‘way’. Others will be filled with uncertainty about the future. Some of you may feel at times that you just can’t cope with the life that we are moving into.
Friends, the word to us today is the same word that God gave to Joshua as he faced his uncharted territory and enemies. “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed”.
Why? “For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go”.
THIS is what makes all the difference! God’s presence with us. Unless God had promised to be with Joshua, he could not have moved forward into the unknown.
What a comfort this can bring us today. The same God who promised to be with Joshua in his hour of need, is the one who draws near to us also, to lead us through the days of uncertainty that lie ahead. Let’s draw near to Him that we too may know the peace that His lovely presence brings to us today.
"On the day the Tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered it. But from evening until morning the cloud over the Tabernacle looked like a pillar of fire. This was the regular pattern—at night the cloud that covered the Tabernacle had the appearance of fire. Whenever the cloud lifted from over the sacred tent, the people of Israel would break camp and follow it. And wherever the cloud settled, the people of Israel would set up camp.” (Numbers 9:15-17)
Isn’t this an outstanding part of scripture? For forty years, this pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night was a constant companion to the children of Israel.
Imagine waking shortly before dawn each morning and standing at the entrance to your tent. As the dawn begins to break, you watch as the fire slowly dims until a cloud is clearly visible. Again, at dusk, as darkness begins to fall, you watch the transformation as the cloud slowly starts glowing until the whole pillar is ablaze. How amazing to watch that day, after day, night after night, month after month, year after year...for forty years!
However, I suspect for many, that it didn’t take terribly long for the wonder of the miraculous to wane. I think that after a relatively short time, many of the gathered company would take this miracle for granted and the wonder of it would ebb away.
Before we criticise the children of Israel for complacency, perhaps we can can be guilty of this very same thing. God has worked wonderful miracles in many of our lives. We have marvelled at the wonder of what He has done...for a time. Then, like the children of Israel, the wonder fades and with it, something of the vibrancy of the life of God that we felt.
Wherever you are today, whatever you are facing, let God ignite in you again the fire of the wonder of what He has done in your life. Meditate on it. Share it with friends. Share it with family. Share it on social media! Never again let this fire of wonder wane and keep it burning till the end of your wanderings on earth.
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