I like the story of the coat shop in Nottingham, England, that posted the following notice in the window of its store: “We have been established for over 100 years and have been pleasing and displeasing customers ever since. We have made money and lost money, suffered the effects of coal nationalization, coal rationing, government control, and bad payers. We have been cussed and discussed, messed about, lied to, held up, robbed, and swindled. The only reason we stay in business is to see what happens next.”
Facing a new day, embracing tomorrow, waiting to see what happens next is always a challenge. Navigating today and managing tomorrow puts us all to the test. Living up to what God sends our way is not always easy.
Such was the challenge before Joshua upon the death of Moses. After thirty days of mourning for Moses, Joshua now needed to turn his face toward a new day. He needed to lead the people of God across the swollen Jordan River to possess the land of Canaan which God had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Deut. 34:8; Jos. 1:1-6). It was no longer enough to have escaped Egypt; it was time to enter The Promised Land. The death of Moses had signaled a new day which required a new kind of leader along with renewed faith in God and His powerful promises.
Joshua must have felt overwhelmed with the memory of a great leader behind him, a frightened nation around him, an implacable enemy before him and self-doubt within him. But into this challenging context God speaks a word of encouragement. In Joshua 1:5 God says, “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Given the promise that God would not let him down, Joshua was able to take up the challenge of bucking history and forging a new future.
Within this promise three things are said to be true of God. One, God abides! What He was to Moses He would be to Joshua (Josh. 1:5). By nature, God is changeless and eternal, sure and steady (Psalm 102:23-38). Two, God overrides! Moses’ failure as a leader was not God’s failure but his. Joshua was God’s pick to replace Moses, in fact Moses officiated at Joshua’s installation (Deut. 31:1-8; 3:23-28). God buries his workers and carries on His work. Three, God provides! God was with Moses not only in terms of His presence but His provision. God supplied all that Moses needed to lead effectively and He would do the same for Joshua (Neh. 9:21; Jos. 1:9). God was giving them the land and He would give them all that was necessary to conquer it (Jos. 1:2).
As you face a new day remember that: God is always Himself and you can count on Him being Him; you can be yourself and not a copy of someone else, and; where God’s finger points His hand will provide.