Sermon preached 31st December 2023
Have you made any New Year’s resolutions for the upcoming year, 2024?
Many people like to make resolutions to improve their lives in various ways, such as exercising more, eating healthier, managing their finances better, reducing stress, improving their emotional well-being, making more time for their hobbies, advancing their careers, improving their relationships, quitting bad habits, and more. However, some people choose not to make any resolutions due to fear and uncertainty about the future. Some individuals may be anxious about the country’s government and leadership quality. In contrast, others may be concerned about the stability of the economy and the possibility of financial challenges. Moreover, the world is facing several issues, including global conflicts, the frightening threat of nuclear weapons, environmental pollution, cyber-terrorism, and many more. These issues contribute to the growing fear that people are experiencing as we approach the new year 2024.
As we enter 2024, it is important to keep faith in God, regardless of our perspectives on life.
Israel’s people were filled with both hope and apprehension as they prepared to cross the Jordan River. Moses had led them through the miraculous parting of the Red Sea into dry ground (Exodus 14), which marked the beginning of their journey through the wilderness of Sinai. On the other hand, the Jordan River represented the final boundary between the wilderness where the Israelites had been wandering for the past forty years and the land that God had promised them. However, to reach the promised land, they had to cross the Jordan River and enter Canaan.
The passage in Joshua 3:1 describes a seemingly impossible situation. The people of Israel faced a difficult challenge when they came to cross the Jordan River. The river was swollen with spring rains, making crossing impossible. However, this verse reminds us of a recurring theme in the Bible – that what is impossible for humans is possible for God (as also mentioned in Luke 1:37 and 18:27).
In 2024, God will reveal to us the daily steps we need to take to experience His goodness.
Step 1 – Be Directed by God
In the biblical story of Joshua, he sought direction from God on how to cross the Jordan River. Similarly, we need to seek direction from God for our plans, including the year 2024. But the question is, how can we seek guidance from God?
Firstly, commit your decision to God and trust the Lord with all your heart. Do not rely on your understanding, but acknowledge Him in all your ways. By doing so, He will guide you in the right direction (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Secondly, pray to God and ask for His guidance in making the right decision. Psalm 25:4-5 says, “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”
Thirdly, reading the Bible and seeing if any specific suggestions may help with your decision is helpful. Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” You can also look for principles in the Bible that can be applied to your situation or see if there are any instances in the Bible where individuals faced similar decisions and how they handled them.
Finally, seek godly advice. Proverbs 12:15 states that the unwise may believe their way is correct, but the wise listen to advice. Similarly, Proverbs 15:22 emphasizes the importance of seeking counsel, stating that plans can fail without advice, but with the input of many advisers, they can succeed. So, it is valuable to consider seeking godly counsel in 2024 about your plans.
Step 2 – Follow God
Joshua 3: 3-4 “Giving orders to the people: “When you see the Ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. 4 Then you will know which way to go since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about two thousand cubits[a] between you and the Ark; do not go near it.”
From this verse, Joshua gives us an excellent example of entering 2024. In 2024: When you see the Ark of the Covenant of God, you must move out from your positions and follow it. This statement raises two critical questions:
- What is the Ark of the Lord?
- Move position and follow God.
The Ark of God was a golden plate called the Mercy Seat, with two Cherubim statues on it (Exodus 25:18-19). According to Psalms 80:1 and 99:1, God is described as “enthroned upon the Cherubim.” The Ark represents the visible manifestation of God’s presence and is Immanuel, which means “God with us.” This shows us that when God leads the way, He will be with us as we enter 2024. God took the first step towards Canaan, and all of Israel followed Him; let us pursue His presence in 2024.
The move position is to move from sin to righteousness. From unbelief to faith, we cannot follow God if we have qualities that are not aligned with His nature.
God performed a miracle for the Israelites to cross the Jordan River. May He also perform a great miracle in your life this year so that people will know you serve a living God.