Strength – Courage – Perseverance
It’s a New Year, and typically people start a New Year by making New Year’s Resolutions.
What are some New Year’s Resolutions you have heard people make this year?
Although many people will focus on things like getting out of debt, better relationships, losing weight, graduating from school and the things you spoke about, I’m not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions. Mostly because so many times we fail at keeping them.
I do believe in taking this moment in time as an opportunity to look back on the last year and reflect on what went right and what went wrong. I like to look at where I can improve this year, what worked well, and what I’d like to do differently. Maybe 2013 went really well for you or maybe you fell flat on your face a lot. Maybe you set some goals and did a great job of reaching them or maybe you didn’t. Starting a new year gives us an opportunity to look at last year and ask, “What can I do differently?”
This year, whatever your goals may be, I challenge you to live like a champion. I challenge you to live the best life you can. I challenge you to be who God designed you to be: an athlete, an artist, a student, a singer, a writer, a friend, a sister, a brother, a teacher, a skater. I challenge you to pursue excellence in what you do and in who you are.
In order to live this year like you have never lived before, you are going to need three things…
STRENGTH – COURAGE – PERSERVANCE.
Tonight we are going to look at strength and courage.
Joshua has just been put in charge of leading the Israelites into the Promised Land – Canaan. It is a land flowing with milk and honey – a rich land! It is also inhabited by giants. No lie!
Let’s take a look:
Prior to Joshua taking over, Moses sends some scouts into Canaan to check out the land before heading into it.
Numbers 13:27-28 they gave Moses this account: “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.
Skip to verse 31-33
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.”
Even though Caleb told the people that they should go into Canaan and take the land, they did not listen and acted in fear. Because of this, they were left to wander in the desert for 40 years. Eventually, Moses dies and Joshua is put in charge of leading the Israelites into Canaan. Knowing what was there – giant people and massively fortified cities - God tells Joshua to go.
Turn to Joshua 1:1-9
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.”
No matter what giants you face this year, God is with you! Be strong and courageous!