As we approach the new year, and 2019 changes to 2020, I’m reminded that there will be a good bit of change for Faith Baptist Church this year with Pas tor Joe l retiring at the end of December. Pastor Joel has served at Faith Baptist Church for a very long time, and is for some the only pas tor they have ever had. Thankfully, this is not the firs t time that a younger man has replaced a long-time leader.
The Bible gives us several examples where this happened and we can look to scripture for guidance during this time. In the Old Testament, Joshua replaced Moses after Moses led God’s people for 40 years. For mo t of the nation, Moses was the only leader they had ever known. In Joshua chapter one, God commands Joshua to take charge, giving him important advice. Joshua was to be “strong and courageous” (vv. 6, 7, and 9). This did not mean that Joshua was to be headstrong. In fact, this command to be strong and courageous was linked to the second part of God? s advice: Joshua must be obedient to God? s word (vv. 7) and to be obedient to God’ s word he also needed to meditate, or abide in God’s word: “This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night that you may be careful to do according to all the Law? (vv. 8). In other words , if Joshua and the people were to thrive they would need to cling to God? s word, developing a deep relationship with Him. Joshua was obedient to this command, but sadly, the generation which followed him was not (Jg. 2:10).
When David was dying, he echoed a similar command for his son Solomon to be obedient to God’s word, and by implication, to abide in God’s word (1 Ki. 2:2-4). Solomon was faithful to this change during the earlier years of his reign, but later, drifted from the Lord due to his many pagan wives (I Ki. 11:1-4). Paul gave a similar command to Timothy (2 Ti. 2:1-3). Paul commanded Timothy to take the things Paul had taught him, and faithfully transmit them to other faithful people. Paul’s teaching included more than what he wrote in the New Testament, but certainly the core of Paul’s teaching is recorded for us in the New Testament. In other words , Paul was telling Timothy to be faithful to the New Testament teaching, and transmit it to others . He was confident the church would continue to thrive if God’s word was passed on and obeyed.
As Faith Baptist Church embarks upon a new chapter in its history, it is important that all of us (myself, the deacons , and everyone else) cling to God’s word and be obedient to it – even the commands we might not like. To remind ourselves of this , I have selected a phrase from Joshua 1:8 as our theme for the upcoming year: “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night.” I pray we would be faithful to this command moving forward.