God is not in time, time is in God, but because we are in time we do not necessarily see as God sees.  However, there are occasions, such as the turn of the year, that we can be encouraged and encourage ourselves in God.  That is our responsibility, to exercise the gift of faith the Lord Jesus gives us.

Some of us may have situations likened to Jericho walls standing before us, seemingly impenetrable…….but God!  (Joshua 6).  We do well to remind ourselves that God’s thoughts, ways and plans are much higher than ours, (Isaiah 55: 8-9).  Do I recognise that the trial of my faith is holy ground where I must surrender my understanding and learn to trust my Father and obey? (Joshua 5: 13-15).

Joshua 6 records the account of Joshua’s commission to lead the new generation of Israelites into the Promised Land.  Their immediate challenge was to conquer the seemingly impregnable, walled city of Jericho.  In those days men’s methods and tactics to attempt to conquer such a city would be costly in time, labour and lives.  God’s ways are not our ways.  He had a supernatural plan for His children, but it involved faith and obedience.  Hebrews 11:6 declares: “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”  God’s methods include men, but not by men’s methods, His are supernatural.

We began by mentioning that God is not in time, but time is in God.  Consider the following.  The scriptures are the inspired word of God and the tenses used are very important.  Joshua 6:2  “And the Lord said to Joshua, ‘See, I HAVE GIVEN into your hand Jericho, and the king there, and the mighty men of valour.” (KJV)   HAVE GIVEN…..from God’s perspective it was a done deal from His side.  Joshua and the children of Israel had to exercise obedience and faith in God as their part.

God’s battle plan given to Joshua seemed ridiculous to finite minds, but as they followed it to the letter, God showed up and supernaturally felled the walls of Jericho flat, according to His word.

As we are the children of God we must stop judging situations naturally, by the sight of our eyes, but we do have to exercise our gift of faith.  Here is where we prove God and learn that we can trust Him in every situation 2024 holds for us.  This is why the trial of our faith is a precious thing in God’s eyes because it brings us nearer to Him.  He delights in our fellowship with Him as we include Him in everything in our lives.

When will we stop asking God to change our circumstances instead of embracing them?  God permits, (not sends, but uses), certain things for a season  in order for us to press into Him and discover His enabling grace and strength from Jesus to see us through.  The trial serves to change us from the way we react naturally, to a new way of responding to the Holy Spirit’s guide and direction.  As we obey we discover  another measure of the life of Christ flowing through our earthen vessels – living our lives to the glory of God.

God does not want to change me in one sense, but to replace me with the life of His Son…….divine replacement therapy!  Hallelujah!  Only as I humbly embrace, instead of resisting, my situations will the change take place.  The apostle Paul came to this position in his trials: “…..most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me”, 2 Corinthians 12: 9.  Paul had requested the Lord to remove the thorn in his flesh.  Through the trial Paul saw God’s purpose (v. 7) but also His promise, a supernatural strength to replace his weakness, a God-given ability to live his life in divine strength joyfully embracing his situation.

The attitude of our heart is so important to God.  My attitude defines the altitude I may soar with Him above my circumstances, knowing He alone is Lord of all.  Am I teachable, compliant, submissive to the Holy Spirit guiding me each day?  Humility is always key, for this is the nature of our Lord Jesus, who sacrificed His reputation – literally emptied Himself in order to become the Saviour of mankind to all who believe in Him, (Philippians 2: 7-10).  Does the Lord require of me to do some emptying out of things I have clung to, held fast?  Do I need to abdicate the throne of my heart and surrender to His rule there?  Do I deceive myself and pretend all is well when the Holy Spirit seeks to blow His wind of change for 2024?

The clock of life is ticking, we come this way but once.  Let us give thanks for God’s faithfulness in 2023, whatever befell us there His promises stand true for our past, present and future……”I will never leave you nor forsake you”,  1 Chronicles 28:20.

Isaiah 52:12 “For you shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight, for the Lord will go before you and the God of Israel will be your rearguard.”  God has our lives covered in His provision for 2024.  He promises to hedge us in before and behind.  There is no better protection than His word to us.  Let us joyfully embrace the new year confident in our Lord Jesus Christ for ” He who has begun a good work in us, will finish it”, (Philippians 1:6), and not give up on us.  May we live our lives bringing pleasure to our Master, living to the glory of God.

To all our beloved fellow travellers in the body of Christ:  “The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you.  The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.”   Numbers 6:24-26

Photo by Asher Ward on Unsplash