April 2024

‘I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and of good courage’ Joshua 1.5-6 (RSV).

This word of the Lord comes to Joshua as he crosses over the Jordan with the people of Israel as their leader, to begin the process of possessing the promised land.  This is a great time of change for God’s people Israel; a time to forge a new future and build a new home in an unknown land.  Joshua knows there are literal battles ahead as Israel defeats and dispossesses the Canaanites who occupy the land. He knows there will be times of joy and sorrow, of war and of peace, of tearing down and of building anew.  Testing times.

Into this setting come the Lord’s words: ‘I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and of good courage’.  Joshua knows that he cannot prevail in his own strength.  It is only if the Lord is with him and the people that they will prevail.  So to hear God say that He will never leave him nor let him down, could not fail to encourage and embolden Joshua for the task ahead.

I wonder what significant changes lie ahead for you?  To live is to change as our bodies mature and our relationships alter.  Maybe you are facing a physical move of home or job or church?  Maybe you are facing illness or infirmity, or perhaps are looking forward to being blessed with a new freedom?  For me, retirement and a change of home town and community beckons, with all the new freedoms and challenges that presents.  In different ways then, we may be called to forge a new identity, a way of being, a way of life.  But the constant ground of our being is the Lord God who is always with us, who sustains, comforts and strengthens us in the here and now by His Spirit – just as He did with Joshua thousands of years ago.  God is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

God travels with us through all the changing scenes of life, as He did with Moses, Joshua and all His faithful people throughout history.  Though everything around us changes; the God who is with us always, the same God who is with us in the stillness, comes to meet us right where we are.  And He tells us that we are beloved.