There have been a lot of changes at the college where I work in the past few weeks. Our president of 30+ years retired and a new leader has stepped behind his desk. Several people also retired at the close of the year and a couple of people left unexpectedly. Old friends are going and new faces are coming. It’s all a bit unsettling.
Maybe that is why the Spirit directed me to the book of Joshua this morning. The Israelites are facing some major changes. After forty years of wandering in the wilderness of Judea, they are about to cross over the Jordan River and into the Promised Land. And most concerning of all, their long-time leader Moses has died and a new leader stands in his place. No doubt Joshua was feeling a mixture of excitement and anxiety. As the new chapter in the Hebrews’ story opens, the Lord speaks directly to him. He filled Joshua with confidence as He promised His presence.
“Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (v. 9). I’m coming with you Joshua, every step of the way. The God who rescued two million plus slaves, who parted seas and led you across the seabed on dry ground, who defeated mighty armies, and provided for your every need – I, Joshua, will be with you. That’s a promise he and all of Israel could depend on.
As I read this passage my first thought was: I’m not going anywhere. All these changes are happening around me. The principle is the same. Life is unpredictable. Your world, like mine, may be uncertain right now. It may be a diagnosis or a broken relationship or even an upheaval at your job. You may have lost someone you love and you’re not sure how to go on. It may even be positive changes – a baby is on the way or your kid may be heading to college – or like mine – to the military. The promise of God still stands firm: In all the changes of our lives, He will be with us – whether we stay or go – or someone else goes. He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (v. 5). He will never go against His Word. He is with us, always and everywhere. That’s a promise Beloved, you can stand on – and rest in.