Effect of God’s presence stays the same


It is a true statement that great leaders are hard to follow. Ask any college athletic director who has had to find a new football coach after the old one, who has been there for what seems like forever, has retired. They will tell you that the likelihood of finding a successful coach who will last as long as the last one, and do as well, is pretty slim.

In fact, the statistics demonstrate that if a coach has been in his position for 10 years or longer, his successor will most likely remain in that position for three years or less. There are exceptions to that rule but in many, if not most cases, it is true.

In my daily quiet time the other morning I read this verse from the Scriptures: “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 leave you nor forsake you.” — Joshua 1:5.

Moses had led the children of Israel for 40 years. Just before his death, the Lord had revealed to Moses that Joshua was the choice to be the next leader of the nation. The Lord spoke to Joshua after Moses had died and the nation of Israel was on the verge of going into the Promised Land, the land that God had committed to give to His chosen people. Joshua was now the new leader who had been appointed by God upon the death of Moses.

I don’t know about you, but if I am walking in Joshua’s sandals for any length of time at this time in his life, I would most likely have been excited, but if I am honest with myself, I would have been scared to death, my knees shaking like a willow tree in a windstorm. God’s assignment for Joshua as the successor to Moses was no small task, obviously even more significant than following a great football coach. Through Moses, God had turned the waters in Egypt into blood, parted the Red Sea, destroyed the Egyptian army, and miraculously fed the nation for 40 years. God spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai and gave him His law.

Joshua must have wondered how he could follow Moses. But God was assuring him all the way that He was with him.

To erase any doubt, God assured Joshua that Moses’ accomplishments had all been due to God’s presence. Joshua grew confident because the same God who walked with Moses now walked with him. Three times in the opening verses of the Bible book that bears his name, God tells Joshua to “Be strong and courageous!” (Josh. 1:6,7,9). In addition, as if to assure Joshua of the confidence he could have as he led, God tells him that “the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (vs 6, 9).

Jesus, in his last words to his disciples, proclaimed as much when he said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20). Did you catch that last phrase? Jesus promised the people who follow Him that he would be with them always!

As you read the accounts of God’s miraculous work through men and women in the Bible, you may wonder if God still performs such miracles today. Be assured that the same God who walked with Moses, Joshua, Elijah, Peter, James, John and Paul now lives within you. No power can defeat the God who guides you. The God who blessed them is just as capable of working out His purposes through your life. The same God who gave them victory over seemingly invincible enemies, who provided for them when their own resources were insufficient, and who guided them in their decisions, is prepared to work as powerfully in your life today.

The heroes of the faith had one thing in common: they were all ordinary people with no power of their own. The difference is the mighty presence of God. These ordinary men with no education, no recommendation on their own, effectively changed the world, all because He was “with them!” What He did then, He wants to do now as well — in and through you and me! Times may change, but the effect of God’s presence remains the same.

God bless…

Chuck Tabor is a religion columnist for The Times-Gazette and a former Hillsboro area minister who now resides in Florida. He can be reached at [email protected].

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