It has finally arrived. The final Sunday of a year that has been the most life-changing time in recent history. This time a year ago, spirits soared with the hope of a brand-new year filled with exciting plans and promises that would make 2020 an incredible year of hope, prosperity, and joy. January began with a renewed strength of purpose. As February unfolded into March, the hopes and dreams of a prosperous year began to fade. March blew in with the overwhelming reality of a worldwide pandemic. The year never recovered.
It was thought in the beginning, the virus would be short-lived and life would soon return to normal. This dream was shattered as the reality of the longevity of COVID-19 entrenched itself in the lives of a worldwide population. More than 1.7 million people lost their lives to the pandemic. National economies will take years to recover and some industries will never recover. The year 2020 has become an indelibly marked history with the story of a social distancing, wearing masks, and fear of the unknown.
And the year 2020 will be remembered as one of the bloodiest, most divisive, and politically explosive time in recent history. The moral fiber of America was put to a severe test in the arena of a Presidential election. Not since the days of protests against the Vietnam war have the opposites attracted such attention. The fallout from the election will carve a new direction for politics in the decades to come. It is safe to safe that no one will forget 2020.
Today marks the final Sunday of a tumultuous year and that is the joy of this day. With all the dark prophecies of the past 361 days and fears that filled the hearts of the world, a new day has arrived and the sun is shining. The world continues to revolve on its axis at the amazing speed of 1,037.5646 miles per hour. Birds flitter around seeking food and the seas abound with life. Life continues as it has since God first placed the universe in its order. And so it goes.
There is much to reflect in the year 2020. For many, it is a year of incredible loss as loved ones have died. It is a time of renewed hope with families welcoming the birth of a child. New directions are taken that promise hope. The world has changed. Wearing a mask seems normal. The impact of the virus has changed the lives of everyone. For many, it has been a test of faith, and sadly for many – it has been a defeat in their faith. Many have left the Lord. Churches are dealing with efforts to keep the family of God together. Some are winning while others struggle. This has been a time of spiritual challenge.
Today is the final Sunday of the year and should be viewed as a milestone to reflect upon the previous year and to look with anticipation to a new year. God is still in control and regardless of how 2020 has impacted our lives, the work of the Kingdom continues, souls must be saved and churches around the world must find ways to grow stronger. It is a new year by the grace of God. The death of Jesus remains at the forefront of the need of every man. Holy lives must be lived showing the love of God in a world filled with despair.
This final Sunday is a time to reflect upon another time of change and the lessons learned and the instructions given. Joshua stood on the banks of the Jordan River peering into a land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Moses had died and now the leadership of the nation of Israel was in the hands of the son of Nun. He must lead the people. The past forty years were filled with great strife and heartache. Joshua and Caleb were the only ones of the age to see the promised land and enjoy the fruits of God’s promises. The lessons given to Joshua will serve the hearts of God’s people on this final Sunday of 2020.
The Lord tells Joshua: “Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory. 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. Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:2-9)
Here are the lessons for 2020. This year is gone and cannot be changed. It is time to arise and enter the new year with a renewed resolve to serve the Lord. God will be us every step of the way if we walk in the paths of righteousness. Nothing will stand against us when we walk with the Lord. God will not leave us nor forsake us (just look at 2020 and you will see that). We must be strong and of good courage. The new year demands we observe to do according to all the law of God. Our lives must be directed by the gospel of Christ without turning to the right or the left so that 2021 will be a year of hope. The word of God must not depart from our hearts. It shall be our meditation day and night to observe to do according to all that is written in it. Has our Father not commanded us to be strong and of good courage? There is nothing to fear and no reason to be dismayed. THE LORD GOD IS WITH US!