I am utilizing Professor Horner’s Bible Reading Plan this year for my personal reading plan. You may know that Tim Challies has encouraged many of his blog audience to go through this plan together as well. I started using this plan last year…and then my physical health world kind of turned upside down. Click through the link to read more about the plan.
As instructed by the plan yesterday, I was reading in Joshua 2. This chapter describes the leadership change for the nation of Israel: from Moses to Joshua. Several times in the chapter, the Lord reminds Joshua to “be strong and courageous”. It is in verse 9 that the Lord says:
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. (niv)
Can you imagine the impact of these words? The Israelites were on the brink of tremendous life change. They were to face adversity, opposing nations and various kinds of hardships that come with moving into a foreign land.
The report of the 12 spies, as recorded in Numbers 13, was surely still in the forefront of the people’s minds. Powerful nations were in the land, fortified cities, and “giants” were occupying the land. The benefits were numerous but the risk was great as well. Living out the Lord’s plan was going to be a scary proposition.
The objective was not going to be realized overnight. The travel would be slow; there would be casualties, there would be bumps in the road along the way. Living out the Lord’s plan was not going to be all peaches and cream. It was going to require steadfastness.
What about us?
The Lord has given us many things to accomplish in his plan and purpose for our lives. Along the way are many opposing forces, great obstacles, and seemingly impossible opponents. His plan for our lives will require a spirit of endurance and staying encouraged will prove to be difficult.
What is the “secret” for living a life without terror and discouragement?
The “secret” is the all-encompassing presence of God. The Lord God is with you wherever you go. Wherever. Every relationship, every task, every road bump, every illness, every affliction, every distress, every victory, every success – WHEREVER. The presence of God is a wonderful comfort. It doesn’t just mean that God is a spectator to our life’s happenings. It means that he is an active participant in our lives. He has pre-ordained our days and all that fill them, he sees us presently pushing on to fulfill his plan for us, and he knows every bend in the path ahead. He is there even when we are alone. He doesn’t take a break, doesn’t sleep, doesn’t lose attention to what matters in our lives.
It is said similarly in the New Testament: our contentment comes from his presence: I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you. The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?
What are you learning from your personal reading plan?