The great leader, Moses, had died and the Lord God had chosen the faithful warrior, Joshua, to be the leader of the children of Israel. They were encamped on the east side of the River of Jordan and the time had come for them to cross over the River of Jordan and into the land of ‘milk and honey’, the land of Canaan. God had assured Joshua several times that He would be with him as he was about to enter the promised land (Joshua 1:6-9).
In Joshua 3, the priest, carrying the ark of the covenant, were to lead the people across the River of Jordan and into the land that God had promised to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3). Joshua, in charging the people to follow the priest at a certain distance, said this to the people, “FOR YOU HAVE NOT PASSED THIS WAY BEFORE”. The children of Israel were about to enter a land they did not know.
As we enter this new year of 2017, it could also be said of us, “For you have not passed this way before.” We do not know what this new year will bring. It might be weal or woe, sadness or happiness, life or death, success or failure, etc. For the child of God, we should read what God said to Joshua and to know that basically He tells us the same: “Be strong and of good courage”, “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord you God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:6, 9). In Hebrews 13:5, we read, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Because we are children of God, this is the blessed assurance we have in our Lord. Here are some suggestions that will strengthen you as you enter the uncharted course in this new year of 2017:
- Trust in the Lord with all your heart (Proverbs 3:5, 6).
- Love God with all your heart, soul and mind (Mark 12:30).
- Love your brethren and your neighbors (John 13:34, 35; Mark 12:30).
- Do good to all men and especially your brothers and sisters in Christ (Galatians 6:10).
- Attend the assemblies of the church to worship God and to exhort/edify/build up one another in the most holy faith (Hebrews 10:24, 25).
- Be steadfast in prayer (Romans 12:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:17).
- Increase your knowledge of the Word of God by reading and studying it daily (Psalm 1:1-3;119:97; Matthew 4:4).
I close this article with the words of the apostle Peter as found in 2 Peter 1:10, 11: “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these thing you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”