Summary: Three things we need to face the New Year
“The Best is Yet to Come!”
After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide:
“Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west.
No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
I love this historical account of Joshua leading God’s people into the Promised Land. You may remember him as being one of the twelve men who spied out the land and being one of only two who advised the people to enter the land and take it. Caleb and Joshua figured if God promised it to them and was with them – they had nothing to fear. Their faith was in God. But the people gave into fear and not faith and for forty years they lived in the wilderness when they could have entered paradise. For forty years, instead of building fruitful lives in the Promised Land, they died one by one in the wilderness.
Joshua was called to the task of leading the children of these faithless people into the Promised Land. Again, as they faced that land that overflowed with goodness, God promises to go with them. Not only that, but He gave Joshua a formula for success. His instructions are to, 1. Be strong and courageous; 2. Obey God; 3. Know the Scriptures; 4. And be careful to do everything written in it.
The result of obeying this instruction is 1. God will never leave; and 2. You will be prosperous and successful. I could stop right there and dismiss because that’s some pretty powerful stuff. That’s a fantastic formula for success. But I won’t. Let’s go on.
When the twelve spies first entered the land to spy it out they said,
“We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there.”
“But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
Only Joshua and Caleb had the faith to enter the land and only they did so. Faith or fear – that was their choice. They chose faith and received the reward for their faith. They eventually went into the land and possessed it. Those who chose fear received what they dreaded – death.
As we face the New Year it reminds me a bit like Moses and the Children of Israel. We can dread it and fear it or we can welcome the challenge and anticipate the blessings. We will probably receive whatever we think will happen.
As I was praying for God’s direction on what to share with you, this first day of a New Year, I felt like He gave me three things we need to take into the New Year to make it successfully. Joshua and Caleb and the Children of Israel took with them swords, spears and bows to conquer the land. We need these three things to conquer what lies before us.