GOD IS WITH US! It was a long road and hundreds of years from the last verse of the book of Genesis to the first verse in the book of Joshua. Significant events, the lives of millions of people, and the ever present protection of God fill the pages of those first five books of the bible. Suffering and deliverance, slavery and freedom, trust and disobedience, are familiar themes as a family turns into a nation and heads for its promised homeland. Food fell from heaven and water flowed from a rock. Grumbling and complaining grew loud even as God’s presence showed them the path to take day and night that led to the Promised Land. After the older generation died in the desert because of their sinful and rebellious hearts at last the nation and their leader arrived at the gateway to the Promised Land. “Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo…across from Jericho. There the Lord showed him the whole land…Then the Lord said to him, ‘This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your own eyes but you will not cross over into it.’ And Moses the servant of the Lord died there…” (Deuteronomy 34:1-5 NIV).
Before Moses died Joshua had been appointed as his successor to lead the nation into the land promised to Israel on the other side of the Jordan River (Deuteronomy 31). After Moses died God spoke to Joshua and gave him specific directions concerning crossing the Jordan and occupying the land. God also made a promise to Joshua, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5 NIV). What a great burden must have been lifted off Joshua’s shoulders at that point as he was reminded that God would be with him at all times. Joshua had seen how difficult it was to lead one or two million people from Egypt to the Jordan and he had no idea what was ahead of him. But knowing God was with him must have brought him comfort and courage.
As Christians we are assured of the same promise, “God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV). Jesus said, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 NIV). We live in an age and society of ever present danger. Not even the seemingly safe places are safe anymore from danger of all kinds or even death. But one fact Christians can be assured of; where we are God is even under the worse circumstances. As God loved His people of Old Testament times He also loves us, “For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones” (Psalm 37:28 NIV). As the Psalmist said, “For the Lord will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance” (Psalm 94:14 NIV). Whatever difficulties we face in life, even death, we are assured that God is in control of our lives and even if death should come unexpectedly we will “be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8 NIV). As Joshua could move into new territory and conquer it because God was with him so we can move through life successfully with all its dangers, unexpected events, and unknown territories because we know God is with us.