The Key to An Excellent New Year (A Lesson from the People of Israel)

Imagine that you have been promised a beautiful house that you just cannot wait to move into! But when it’s finally time to move in, you find that there are other people living there. Oh, and they’re not moving. So, instead of having them leave, you agree to let them live there with you and your family. Sounds pretty crazy, doesn’t it?

In the first two chapters of Judges, we see that the people of Israel were facing a similar situation. They were finally coming to Canaan, the land God had promised their ancestors years before. This was their opportunity to move into a new home. After 40 years of disobeying God, being homeless, and complaining about pretty much everything, they were facing a fresh start. But there was one problem. Actually, there were many problems, and those problems were already living in Canaan. The Canaanites were foreign people serving foreign gods. God gave His people clear directions to drive the Canaanites out of the land so their pagan gods would not be a temptation to the Israelites and pull them away from the One, True God.

A few Israelites followed Gods command, but most did not. Even after God gave them victory over the Canaanites, instead of evicting them, most of the Israelites allowed the Canaanites to live among them, some as slaves and some as neighbors. As a result, the Canaanites’ gods were a constant temptation to the Israelites, and in the end, did pull the Israelites away from their God.  The Israelites were literally moving into the land of opportunity and immediately wrecked that opportunity because they did not follow through on what God told them to do.

Have you ever started something new, excited about the possibilities that lay ahead, only to end up not following through? I’m sure we can all think of times when we wanted to do something, but just didn’t do it. Or times when we wanted to stop doing something, but we ended up never kicking it.

Here is the key an excellent 2017 – follow through. If the Lord leads you to do something, don’t fall short. Follow through. If the Lord is laying it on your heart to talk to someone about Him, follow through. If the Lord is leading you to quit a habit that is displeasing to Him or harmful to you or those you love, follow through. If the Lord wants you to adjust an attitude, follow through.

Don’t get to the end of 2017 and look back, wishing you had done things differently. Spend time with the Lord, read His Word, listen to Him, and follow through.