“You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.” (Psalm 65: 11)
This verse from Psalm 65 speaks to me of the bountiful harvest of souls for Exploits Ministry in Asia and elsewhere in 2015. And even though the pathways seem harder than in past years due to increased terrorism and lawlessness, there is this promise of an “overflow with abundance,” like the grapes of Canaan, despite giants in the land.
As we enter 2015, the world is a much darker place. The tears of God’s people are flowing under the tyranny of jihadists. The earth is groaning with the very birth pains of Messiah. Israel is threatened 24/7 with the most vile hatred, as if the lessons of the Holocaust were never learned.
At the start of today’s Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noted that in recent weeks we’ve seen a stepped-up Iranian effort to intensify terrorist actions in Judea and Samaria. None other than the Palestinian Authority ambassador in Teheran said, “The Zionist regime is an aggressive cancerous growth which, sooner or later, must be eliminated.” And how is the UN responding? Instead of dealing with this incitement they fan the fires by moving forward on a unilateral Palestinian proposal to pass a decision in the Security Council to establish another “Hamastan” that would threaten Israel’s security and international airport.
Netanyahu, who sounds more like Churchill everyday while western politicians echo Neville Chamberlain, said, “We will continue to insist on our truth, and we will also continue to vigorously rebuff attempts to force terms on us that would endanger our security and our future.”
Those of us who believe the truth of Bible prophecy and who are convinced that God is restoring Israel and building the Isaiah 19 Highway will fully follow God into the New Year. He is our glory and the lifter up of our heads– we know that all of his promises are “yes and amen,” and that our Lord IS a covenant-keeper. It is a spiritual law that all tyrants and evil regimes will meet their ruin!
In 2014 anti-Semitism stooped to new levels of hatred and cunning. According to a report released by NGO Monitor, anti-Israel NGOs used Christmas motifs to propagate anti-Semitic messages and drum up support for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.
NGO Monitor studied Christmas cards, nativity scenes and holiday messages by some of the most notorious NGOs, such as Pax Christi, Sabeel, and Kairos Palestine, finding religious motifs being used to slander the Jewish State.
“The recurring exploitation of religious holidays and theological language to advance discriminatory anti-Israel campaigns shows that nothing is holy for the BDS movement,” said Naftali Balanson, managing editor of NGO Monitor.
As we stand at the gates of a new year, filled with both opportunities and hardships, let us face 2015 full of faith, like Joshua and Caleb, who spied out the Promised Land.
In 2015 there will be giants to battle and walled cities to scale, but we must exude a different spirit and press forward saying, “Let’s go in and possess the land. If the LORD delight in us, He will give it to us. Their defense is departed from them, and the LORD is with us; fear them not.”
Caleb had this commendation from the LORD, “Now as to my servant Caleb, because a different spirit is within him and he has remained true to me, I will bring him into the land that he explored [as one of the 12 spies sent out by Moses] and his descendants are to inherit it.” (Numbers 14: 24) The New Living Translation renders this verse, “Caleb has a different attitude than the others have. He has remained loyal to me, so I will bring him into the land he explored.”
The majority of God’s people tragically stood at the threshold of the Promised Land and balked through unbelief. Even today the majority of unbelieving “believers” disbelieve God’s promises. Listen to the conversations of the average church-goer, and you hear the sounds and whining tones of brazen unbelief. The Joshuas and Calebs who believe the LORD are few, definitely in a minority!
On the threshold of a new year, let us learn this principle of God: he sets before us a straight path of obedience, the pathway of success, but if we fail to discern new doors opened by God, and if we fail to seize his invitation and opportunity, we can be shut out, the door closed. In God’s economy, a long and arduous delay can be avoided if He is believed from the get-go!
“Today if you hear his voice, harden not your heart as in the provocation,” warns Psalm 95: 7-11, “as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.”
Do we know his ways? “The people who know God will be strong and carry out exploits.” (Daniel 11:32b)
Some will have to battle doctor’s reports in 2015, but let us believe the report of the LORD!
Living in the provision of the Land of God’s Promises is far superior to the slavery of Egypt with all its diseases.
We mustn’t conclude as the multitude complained to Moses, “The giants are too great to overcome.” Joshua and Caleb retorted, “They are bread for us!” How resolute and fixed were their spirits! Their one desire was to gain the land; they refused to be guided by popular opinion; only God’s opinion mattered.
What does it mean to have “another spirit,” as the King James Version renders Caleb’s character?
It’s an heroic spirit of faith, a reverential fear of the Lord, a spirit of might and courage, of truth and faithfulness; believing all the promises of God, being persuaded any opportunity offered by God is worthy of pursuit. A different spirit brings a faith report of any situation according to God’s Word.
A man or a woman with a different spirit believes that God’s opportunity is immeasurably superior to the past.
While others were hatching conspiracies, Caleb was a support to his leader Moses.
What frightens others makes a man or a woman of God run to the battle. 1 Samuel 17: 48 illustrates courage to confront giants: “Then it happened when the Philistine rose and came and drew near to meet David, that David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine.”
Today we are bombarded with endless advertisements for healthy eating options, hormonal treatments, vitamins, etc., but possessing a different spirit is a pathway to health! Because of the unbelief of his fellow Israelites, Caleb’s entry into the Promised Land was delayed; nevertheless he was rewarded with long life, vigour and health.
At age 85, Caleb possessed the same strength he had at 40, and therefore he was fit to face giants. No problem! This teaches us that the person who fully follows the Lord will have strength, faith and courage in old age. Charles Haddon Spurgeon wrote insightfully, “We gain our old saints from among those faithful young ones.”
A great and effectual door is opened in 2015; there are many adversaries, but we go forth with adventurous faith! Obstacles test the quality of the Lord’s labourers, and bring out courage, resolution and patience.
In summary, Caleb’s excellent spirit was characterized by
(1) Faith in action vs. grumbling and complaining
(2) Courage vs. quailing
(3) Decisiveness vs. procrastination
(4) Fidelity to God vs. disloyalty
Nothing is so important as divine approval. The men, women and children the LORD approves are greatly honoured and blessed, either in this world, or in the world to come. Have blessed New Year full of courage and faith!