Jan 29, 2014

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MEDITATION: Words for a new year

MEDITATION: Words for a new year

“As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and of good courage.” (Joshua 1:5)

Most people enter the new year with mixed feelings, almost like Israel in Joshua 1:1-9.

When one reads this passage carefully one immediately senses an underlying spirit or mood of great excitement. After years of roaming in the desert the people of Israel eventually find themselves on the borders of a new land. It certainly seemed to be the beginning of a new adventure, a time of exciting challenges and endless possibilities.

God’s promises had finally been fulfilled.

However, in this historic hour they were also anxious and frightened, unsure about the road ahead. The land they were now entering was unknown territory, if not also dark and dangerous, full of strange and hostile people.

On top of that their trusted leader Moses was dead. They now had to accept and adjust themselves to a new leader. Joshua, their new commander, indeed seemed strong and full of confidence. But was he as strong as Moses? Could he really stand in his shoes? And where would he eventually take them?

These were the questions that troubled them at the time.

Are they not the same questions that concern us as we enter the new year, as we also move into a new period in the history of our young democracy? Questions that are full of new hope and expectation, but at the same time also filled with fear and doubt, anxiety and worry, if not small faith.

How good then to hear again the words of the Lord which he spoke to Israel during this very uncertain and vulnerable time in their history:

”Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, as I promised to Moses…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 not fail you or forsake you. Be strong and of good courage.”(v 3, 5-6).

Later Jesus consoled his disciples with similar words when he said:

“I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).

These are indeed words which can carry us in the new year.

Carel Anthonissen

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