By A.B. Vines
Are you a part of the large percentage of people who have already given up on their new years goals by the first week of February? If so, you can get back on track. Remember the word of the Lord in Joshua 1:2:
“Moses my servant is dead. Now you and all the people prepare to cross over the Jordan to the land I am giving the Israelites.”
Also consider the promise of God in Joshua 1:3-4:
“I have given you every place where the sole of your foot treads, just as I promised Moses. Your territory will be from the wilderness and Lebanon to the great river, the Euphrates River—all the land of the Hittites—and west to the Mediterranean Sea.”
Man, what a promise the Lord gave Joshua. Well, I’d like to remind you of an even greater promise that follows in the following verse:
“No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. I will be with you, just as I was with Moses. I will not leave you or abandon you.”
The Promise of His Presence
What a promise from the Lord: “I will not leave you or abandon you.” As believers living on the other side of the cross, we know this Old Testament promise to Joshua is just as true for our lives right now.
We have assurance of this from Jesus’ words spoken just before His ascension, “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
No matter what we may be dealing with, the Lord our God will not leave us or abandon us.
That’s a powerful promise to hold on to as we face life’s challenges in the coming months. The promise of His presence will keep us in perfect peace regardless of what happens.
Philippians 4:7 declares, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” That’s excellent news! It reminds me of the hymn that says I can face tomorrow. Why? Because He lives!
Based on the promise of Christ’s presence indwelling me daily, I can better understand the words of Thomas Merton who wrote the following in his book No Man is an Island:
God, who is everywhere, never leaves us. He sometimes seems to be present, sometimes to be absent. If we do not know Him well, we do not realize that He may be more present to us when He is absent than when He is present.
If that is you today, know this, the great I AM is right there with you, right now.
Remember to Be Strong
Joshua 1:6 reads, “Be strong and courageous, for you will distribute the land I swore to their fathers to give them as an inheritance.”
The Lord tells Joshua, and us in other passages of Scripture, to be strong.
In Mark Cooper’s book, Edelweiss Express, we see his fictional character Lucas facing a difficult time. Cooper writes:
Lucas couldn’t have imagined that he would have ever felt so alone. No family, no friends. Even his own village had turned against him.
He peered into the icy water; it looked like it was about to freeze over. “Maybe I should drown myself before I freeze to death?” He pondered.
Was there no one to help? He instinctively bowed his head and prayed. A warm feeling engulfed his battered body. “I’m not alone, and I will never be alone. God is with me,” he blubbered.
Yes! This response reminds me of Paul’s word in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9: “We are afflicted in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed.”
Remember, you are His child! Therefore, lift your head and lean into your situation. Trust the Lord now!
Dr. A.B. Vines
Dr. Vines has been the pastor of New Seasons Church in San Diego for the past 13 years and was elected first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention at the 2018 Annual Meeting. Vines currently serves as president of the California Southern Baptist Convention (CSBC) and is a trustee at the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. He is husband to Karen, the father of four, and “PaPa” to nine.