Torchbearers for Christ
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
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THE ROAD AHEAD

The book of Joshua is the story of how Joshua led the children of Israel into the land that God had promised them. It was a new venture and a daunting task because the land of Canaan was possessed by strong enemies who were ready to resist Israel’s advance. But God gave Joshua some precious promises to encourage him and also instructions as to how he could be assured of possessing the land.

In the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 11, God had given His people a description of the land that they were to possess. He told them, “The land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of, is a land of mountains and valleys that drink rain from heaven. It is a land that the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually upon it, from the beginning of the year to its end. So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today – to love the Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul – then I will send the rain on your land in its season; both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil. I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle and you will eat and be satisfied.” The Lord then added a note of warning, “Be careful or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods.........Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds”.
 
At present, we face a new year with unique possibilities and doubtless some problems, but as God was with Joshua and His people as they entered a “land of hills and valleys”, so He has promised to be with us as He was with Joshua. God told His servant, “Do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”.   The key to Joshua’s success was to be his commitment to God’s Word. The Lord told him “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but you shall meditate therein day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written therein; for then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success”. So Joshua was assured of God’s presence and His continued blessing on condition that he should be faithful to God’s Word, meditating upon it and being obedient (Joshua 1:7-9).
 
Although we face very different circumstances in the coming year from those that Joshua faced, there are certain principles which were given to him and which are timeless in our own walk with God. Joshua was to be a man of God’s Word. The same could be said of all those who have been achievers for the Lord. Let us think of David’s words in Psalm 1. He speaks of the man whose “delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Psalm 1 1-3). One only has to read some of the enriching verses in Psalm 19 to learn of the delight that David found in God’s Word. He tells us “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. More to be desired are they than gold, yea than much fine fold, sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is thy servant warned and in keeping of them there is great reward”.
 
This enjoyment, enlightenment and enrichment can be yours and mine throughout the coming year if we take time to read God’s Word, to meditate upon it, to listen to it being taught, if possible to memorise some key verses and, most importantly, to be obedient to what it says and to heed its warnings. How thankful we should be to have God’s inspired Word. We are told, “Great peace have they who love thy law” (Psalm 119:165). As we face the coming year, may it be with the desire to deepen our relationship with the Lord and to resolve that, with His help, His Word shall be “a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path”.
 
This article was written by Pastor Geoffrey Davies. He is a frequent contributor to this column. He lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he pastored a church for over twenty-five years.  For many years, he has travelled widely, continuing his ministry of encouragement and Bible teaching.