‘for the LORD your God is with you’ (Joshua 1:9 RSV)
Do we believe that God is with us always?
Some people reading this may not even believe in God or Jesus, but those of us who respond to God or Jesus will know without a doubt that he is always with us;
‘It is the LORD who goes before you; he will be with you, he will not fail you or forsake you’ (Deuteronomy 31:8 RSV – emphasis mine).
At the time of the death of Moses, just before Israel crossed the river Jordan, Joshua began to lead the Israelite nation; knowing that he was not going to cross the river, Moses had passed the leadership of the nation to Joshua.
Joshua was encouraged and given assurance that he would not be on his own when leading the nation, for God spoke to him, (Joshua 1:2 – 10).
‘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 1:9 NIV – emphasis mine).
This was such an important message for the people to hear, that many years later, Paul, the writer of the book of Hebrews, reminded the people of the message;
‘because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” ’ (Hebrews 13:5 NIV).
So we can take solace from the words written there, that whatever situation we find ourselves in, we are never truly alone.
Now this knowledge fills me will praise and gladness for my Father God, when I think back to what I used to be like, it fills me with shame and regret at what I used to be like.
Many years ago, I found myself in a situation where my marriage failed, and many of the people I knew quickly disappeared from my daily life. My life changed in an instant, my normality became a desolate space. I no longer had the ability to engage with the very people I had spent the previous number of years calling friends.
We may all got through situations that are seemingly very bad, some may be of our own doing, and some may be because of circumstances out of our own control, but whatever situation we are in, as we read in the Bible, we are never truly alone.
‘NEVER WILL I LEAVE YOU’ (Hebrews 13:5 NIV – emphasis mine).
I my time of being on my own, I found these words to be a great comfort to me.
When situations arise, and you find yourself excluded from certain areas of a former life, or you realise that you have been rejected from certain groups that you used to take part in, then it may feel as a little part of you dies, but take heart there is more to life than your past.
What we need to ask ourselves is;
“Who was I living my life for?”
“Who was most important in my life?”
Were you living solely for you own enjoyment, did you acknowledge God at all in your life, did God even come into your thoughts, or maybe just consider what was most important to you, what did all your energy go towards?
For me, the answer was simple, I lived for me and thought of no one else but me, but, life does not end there, and when you find yourself on you own, there is a place to go, you still have choices to make.
Your past does not necessarily characterize you, and whatever you may have done; your circumstances do not define your future!
So, how do we get from our past, point A, to our new future, point B?
Whenever you are planning a journey, you usually consult a map book or atlas, or you used to. Today, you look on your smart phone for your map application, or, if like me and are a little lazy, you just say;
‘Okay Google, navigate to (wherever you want to go)’
Google will then offer you several routes, and also give the amount of time that you can expect to be on the journey.
Well, if you are coming from a point of exiting out of an old life style, and wanting to come into a new life, maybe a realisation that there is something missing in your life, then there is an easy way.
Some people can go through life without a care for the world; they can fill their life with ‘things’, cars, houses, expensive holiday etc.; material things that they consider important, and tings that will bring them happiness.
Material possessions will not bring us happiness, they may do momentarily, you get a new television and it is great, but after a short time, it is just another possession and you want more again. Paul said so to the Roman Christians;
‘Do not be conformed to this world’ (Romans 12:2 RSV).
We do not really need material possessions, they serve a purpose in our lives, new televisions let us watch documentaries, or keep us informed about local and world events, but they are not more important that life itself.
We all have something missing from our lives.
When God created the universe, (Genesis 1) and Adam and Eve lived in The Garden of Eden, they lived in harmony with God, tending the Garden for him (Genesis 2:15). But life did not stay that way, as, when they were tempted, they gave in to temptation (Genesis 3), and so they were expelled for The Garden of Eden.
The fall caused mankind to be missing something now, and that was a close relationship with their Creator (Genesis 1:26). We now have a God shaped hole in us that only God can fill, and we each need to come to that realisation in our own way, it cannot be forced upon us.
Jesus came to the earth because God loves mankind so much that he wanted us to have a chance to build the bridge, and come back into a right relationship with him.
‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son’ (John 3:16 NIV – emphasis mine).
So whatever you or I have done in the past, whatever pit we find ourselves in, there is a way out, and the way is Jesus!
‘Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me” ’ (John 14:6 RSV).
All through our life, God has been, is and always will be with us, and he knows all that we do, nothing is hidden from him, when we steal, when we lust after people we are not married to, or when we tell a lie;
‘You perceive my thoughts from afar… … Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely’ (Psalm 139:2 & 4 NIV).
Whatever we do that is wrong, whatever sin we do, God knows it as we do it;
‘Before I’d ever seen the light of day, the number of days you planned for me were already recorded in your book’ (Psalm 139:16 Passion Translation).
So whatever we do, God knows, wherever we are, God knows; there is nothing that any of us can do that God will not know about, but we can change who we are, by turning to the very same God, and asking for his forgiveness, just as the prodigal son, who took half his father’s wealth and squandered it asked his father to forgive him (and he did) (Luke 15:11 – 31).
We cannot do any of this on our own, or in our own strength;
‘I am the sprouting vine and you’re my branches. As you live in union with me as your source, fruitfulness will stream from within you – but when you live separated from me you are powerless’ (John 15:5 Passion Translation)
There is nothing that any of us can do that will make our Creator God love us more that he already does, equally, there is nothing that we can do, no sin that is so great that God will love us any less.
When we turn to God, repent of anything and everything that we have done wrong and ask for his forgiveness, it can and will all change;
‘Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new person. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new’ (2 Corinthians 5:17 Passion Translation).
What amazing grace!
So here it is, my alabaster heart
I’m keeping nothing back from who You are
No hidden treasure veiled by key or lock
You’re a lifetime worth of worship
And that’s only just the start
Here it is, my every waking day
The minutes, hours, the years of endless praise
For You’re worthy far beyond all I could say
There’s a lifetime worth of worship
In the nuance of Your names
So let it rise like incense
My whole life a fragrance
Every ounce here broken at Your feet
Every breath an offering
My heart cries these lungs sing
Over You, my worthy King of kings
There it is, Your alabaster cross
Giving all You are for all I’m not
I can’t believe that’s the kind of King You are
How could I not bring a lifetime worth of worship to You God
All my love
All my love
All my love
You can have it all
Father, thank you so much that you deem us worthy to be with us always. I am sorry for the times when I hurt you by my action, or by my inaction’s. Help me to rely more upon your strength, and stop trying to do it all on my own, because it never works. Lord I need you, O how I need you, be with me always.