Speaker: Rev. Shine Thomas
Well, by the grace of God we have come to another new year. With the New Year comes New Year resolutions, promises, and blessings. Do you really want to make use of the year that God has gifted us? Do you want to possess the promises God has for you this year? What is it that God is expecting from us so that we can be victorious this year?
Today, I want to speak on the right lifestyle God is looking in us so that our promises of 2013 can be fulfilled.
God promised the Israelites a land and God enabled them to take possession of the promise. The promise was actually given to Abraham when he left his father’s house. Genesis 12:1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.”
God reiterated again and again to Abraham and his descendants that they had a Promised Land to possess.
Genesis 12:7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.”
Genesis 13:15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring for ever.
Gen. 15:7, 15:18; 17:18.
Genesis 50:24 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you out of this land to the land he promised on oat to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
Finally when Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt, all through the journey God kept reminding them of the promise:Ex. 6:8, Lev. 20:24, Num. 14:8, Deut. 6:10; 31:20 etc.
I believe this Promised Land was very special for God and he wanted to give it to his chosen people. However, when the Israelites actually possessed the land it was Joshua who was their leader. Why did God choose Joshua? Why not anyone else from Abraham to Joshua?
When we read the life of Joshua we find great qualities which enabled God to choose to him to possess the land. God does not call any one without a purpose and a promise. I believe you have a promise and blessed life to possess for 2013, it is special to God and he wants to give it to you. But then God requires a certain lifestyle and quality in a child of God so that he can bestow his blessings and fulfill the promises upon them.
THE LIFESTYLE OF A CONQUEROR.
Trustworthy means – Worthy of confidence, reliable, trustable, dependable etc.
Joke: A boss during an interview said the applicant that there are two main rules for our company to select you. Applicant: What is it Sir? Boss: Our second rule is Cleanliness. Did you wipe your feet on the mat near the door before coming in? Applicant: “Yes Sir” Boss: Our first rule is trustworthiness and for your information there is no mat!!!
Are we trustworthy? Joshua was a dependable and reliable person. You could trust him with any job and he would do it with all humility. Let’s read about Joshua’s trustworthiness:
Exodus 17:8-10 8The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. 9Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.” 10So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill.
Exodus 17:13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.
This was the beginning of their wilderness journey and here is the first ever mention of Joshua in the Bible. Until now Joshua was there but he worked in the background of Moses. When the Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites, Moses asked Joshua to lead the people to fight the enemy. So Joshua fought the enemy just as Moses had ordered until the very end.
What do we learn about Joshua here? Moses had no trouble in choosing Joshua to fight the Amalekites because he knew Joshua could be trusted or depended upon. God is looking for trustworthy people who can be depended upon. Are we trustworthy? Can God count you trustworthy so that he can bless you?
Qualities of a trustworthy person.
1. A person who keeps his word.
One who keeps his oath.
Psalm 15:4 …..who keeps his oath even when it hurts.
Psalm 15:4 AMP … who swears to his own hurt and does not change.
We need to be true to what we say even if we are at loss for fulfilling what we promise to others. Some people for the sake for talking accept responsibility but do not show the same enthusiasm in fulfilling them.
Matthew 5:37 Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
James 5:12 Above all, my brothers, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned.
Do not change words according to convenience. Do not deny what you say to people.
If God expects us to be reliable with people, how much more must we keep our word with God? Many people emotionally take decisions in the presence of God but hardly do fulfill them. See what the Bible says:
Ecclesiastes 5:4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow.
Some make promises when they are excited but in reality they do not honor it.
One who does task without seeking recognition.
I am sure Moses must have been observing Joshua as a young man. He must have watched his speech, behavior, availability etc. Joshua was willing to obey the orders of Moses. So, when the need arose, Moses straight away tells Joshua to take up the responsibility to fight the Amalekites. Listen; until the enemy was defeated Moses had no worry about Joshua because he knew that Joshua will not leave his job half done.
A trustworthy person does not work to show men, they work to please God. There is no pride, no ego. He also is willing to put his hands in. Joshua was the leader of the tribe of Ephraim. He could have ordered his people and won the battle, no he was also willing to work with the team as unto the Lord.
Matthew 6:1 “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do you will have no reward from your father in heaven.”
Colossians 3:23-25 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.A trustworthy person does not show favoritism.
God is looking for trustworthy people. Jesus Christ is the best example of a trustworthy person. God could trust Him with the task of salvation and Jesus did it with all humility and servant hood.
2. Be a lover of God’s presence.
Joshua loved to be in the presence of God.
Exodus 33:11 The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.
If it was Moses whom God spoke to face to face why did Joshua not leave the tent even after his leader left? I believe Joshua would have enjoyed lingering around where God’s presence had come down. He enjoyed the presence of God. He found peace and joy there. He longed for the time when he also would hear from the Lord.
As children of God, do we have the burning desire to be in the presence of God? When things are not going your way and even when we are not accepted or rewarded do you desire to spend time with God?
Illustration: Some people say pastor, “I am too busy to come for meetings. I have this work and that work.” But if there is an invitation for a party I have seen the same people go out of their way to be there, and they are there on time. People skip services and prayers, and evening they are there for parties. Parties are good, but when we compromise the time in the presence of God for parties God does not accept it.
Are you too busy to be in God’s presence? How is our approach to church? Do we earnestly try to be on time for a Sunday service? Are the blessings that God has bestowed upon us stealing our time from spending with God? If you want God to bless you, be eager to spend time with God.
See what the psalmist says about the presence of God:
Psalm 84:1-2 1How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty! 2My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Psalm 84:4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.
Psalm 84:10 Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
Psalm 16:11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
People who possess the promise of God, people who are used by God find pleasure spending time with God. Jesus spent time God’s presence. Joshua spent time in God’s presence. Moses spent time in God’s presence. When Moses came down from the presence of God his face was radiant. Exodus 34:29-30 29When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD. 30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him.
People were afraid to talk to him because of the radiance of God’s glory in Moses’ face. The real beauty of our face comes from the presence of God.
Nowadays people spent 1000s of rupees to beautify their face. Even men spend a lot on cosmetics and makeup. All those are good but the glory of God is the best facial you can ever get. Let people see the glory of God in your face. Spend time in the presence of God and see how God is going to full your promises for you.
3. Be patient.
Patiently wait for God’s time.
For almost 40 years Joshua kept serving Moses in the background. Right through the journey we find Joshua doing only what Moses, his leader commanded him to do. He was obedient to his leader. He did not take any position. All the applause went to Moses. Joshua did not do any canvassing and pull people to his side. He knew he had an appointed time and was willing to wait for that time. Joshua knew God had a future for him and also knew how to wait for God’s time to possess it. Joshua was a patient man.
Illustration: Once there was a couple who had only one child. The child grew and went out of town to study medicine. When the first vacation came, the father and mother were ready and waiting for the time for the bus to come. Suddenly the son called and said that the traffic had stopped on the Interstate and that he would be arriving very late. The mother started worrying and said, “I hope he’ll be okay.” The father turned to her and said, “There’s nothing to worry about. Wait patiently, it is just a delay.”
Many of you have faced injustice in life. Maybe your juniors were promoted; you did not get your increments, you have been unjustly victimized. Maybe you were praying for a breakthrough but it did not materialize. Listen, you have an appointed time of deliverance, wait for it. No one can touch your blessings.
Psalm 40:1 I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.
1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
This year do not run after positions, do not run after money, do not run after promotions. You be a God’s child, be trustworthy in whatever you do, God will lift you up on due time.
4. Believe the impossible.
Joshua believed on the Lord for the impossible. He always had faith when faced with great challenges. There was a time when God asked Moses to send the leaders from each tribe to explore the Promised Land. Out of the 12 who went to spy the land; 10 came with a bad report but Joshua and Caleb had a good report.
See the report of the 10 people:
Numbers 13:31-33 31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 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. 33We saw the Nephilim there. We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
Listen, these 10 people gave the exact right report, there was nothing wrong with the report. They felt it was an impossible task to possess the land. They were right; in human capacity they could never take possession of the promise.
But now look at Joshua’s and Caleb’s report: Numbers 13:30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”
By Numbers 14 people decided to choose a different leader and go back to Egypt. Joshua and Caleb had a positive report and believed in the impossible. Numbers 14:6-9 6 Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. 8 If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. 9 Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”
When then entire Israelite camp were negative and said it is an impossible task, Joshua and Caleb said we will swallow them up in the Lord. They shall be our pray and God will give us the victory. Joshua did not look at the circumstances; his eyes were upon the Lord. Joshua believed in the Lord for the impossible. When we read this passage I don’t even find Moses or Aaron supporting Joshua and Caleb. Joshua’s faith was even greater than Moses. When God saw such a faith in Joshua, God decided Joshua is going to be the person who is going to possess my promise.
When God gives you a promise, when God has a blessing in store for you Satan will come in every possible way to steal and destroy it. He will attack your mind, he will attack your circumstances, he will turn people against you. But a man of faith will look beyond these circumstances and believe the impossible. The good news is God will do the impossible for the people who believe.
Today, now matter who is against you, no matter what your circumstances, I want you to rise up your faith and start seeing your promise. You are going to receive it in Jesus’ name. God has a promise for you. You have a great way to go and blessings to be inherited. Will God find the qualities of a promise possessor in us?