“But the land you are entering to possess is a land of mountains and valleys, watered by rain from the sky. It is a land the Lord your God cares for. He is always watching over it from the beginning to the end of the year.”
The Israelites were about to cross the Jordan River and take over the land the Lord had sworn to give to their ancestors. It was a land flowing with milk and honey, not like the land of Egypt from which they had come. That had been a place of slavery and many hardships, but now they were about to enter into the Lord’s promised land. The road ahead still came with much uncertainty but, despite all the challenges they would have to face, the Lord had made a promise: “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you… Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:5b & 9, NIV). They were entering a land the Lord was watching over from the beginning to the end of the year (Deuteronomy 11:12).
Just as the Israelites were facing uncertainty ahead, we are also facing uncertainty at the start of a new year, and for many it could be the start of a new season in their lives. For some the new season is life changing. It could be the change you have been waiting for and the year ahead brings excitement. But for others it can feel very daunting and even lonely. Maybe you have moved and started a new job, your child has started school, or left home, or you are battling with a serious illness, or you lost your job and maybe even someone dear to you. Every person has a unique road ahead.
Either way, whether we are excited or troubled, the road ahead is still uncertain, and we can’t know for sure what the year will bring. We can plan ahead, dream about and work towards our goals, but should do this with the Lord. “Many plans are in a man’s mind, but it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand (be carried out)” (Proverbs 19:21, AMP). When we lay our plans before Him, He is the One who leads the way.
One thing we can count on and know for sure, though, is that the Lord is with us. He will never leave us, nor forsake us. He is watching over our year - from the beginning to the end. This scripture brings a certainty into the uncertainty. We have an anchor that will hold, no matter what storms lie ahead. We have the Lord to lean on, turn to, and hold on to. Without the Lord, we are like waves that get tossed around in the wide open ocean.
Joshua and all the Israelites camped at the Jordan before crossing over. The people were given the order to move out and follow the ark of the covenant of the Lord, being carried by the Levitical priests. They were told: “Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before” (Joshua 3:4a, NIV).
We have never been this way before, but we have the Lord, and He knows the way: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you [who are willing to learn] with My eye upon you” (Psalms 32:8, AMP).
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