Happy New Year!
So how are you starting this New Year, 2024? Do you have a word, a Bible verse, or do you make resolutions?
Or do you just let God guide each day for you and rest in that? (Maybe I’ll try that next year!)
I have found that I do better with Bible verses or a word for the year. Last year I did Bible verses. This year I went back to having a word for the year.
until just a few days ago—the word would not come. My mind was totally blank. I prayed over and over about it and reminded God that He gave other people a Word… so where was mine?
then I landed in 1 Samuel 14 in my early morning Bible reading time, and read the story of the battle at Michmash between Saul’s men and the Philistines. They were at a standstill. No one was moving to fight. And then Jonathan (Saul’s son) decided to do something. And here is how it reads:
6 And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the Lord will work for us: for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few.
7 And his armourbearer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart. (1 Samuel 14:6-7)
What loyalty in the armourbearer! What faith in Jonathan that God could save with a few!
The story continues:
11 And both of them discovered themselves unto the garrison of the Philistines: and the Philistines said, Behold, the Hebrews come forth out of the holes where they had hid themselves.
12 And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armourbearer, and said, Come up to us, and we will shew you a thing. And Jonathan said unto his armourbearer, Come up after me: for the Lord hath delivered them into the hand of Israel.
13 And Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet, and his armourbearer after him: and they fell before Jonathan; and his armourbearer slew after him.
14 And that first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armourbearer made, was about twenty men, within as it were an half acre of land, which a yoke of oxen might plow. (1 Samuel 14:11-14)
When I read the words in verse 13… That “Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet, and his armourbearer after him” I thought— WOW, those guys sure were determined!
And then I looked at the picture in my study Bible of the land where all this battle was taking place (see below).
The picture made me think deeper about the determination it would take to climb up in that terrain to meet the enemy as they were taunting you. (Side note: if you have grandsons, you might be better able to imagine Jonathan and his armourbearer being fired up to climb and fight due to being taunted. All our grandsons will do some crazy things if someone goads them to.) But really—Imagine climbing these cliffs upon your hands and feet—no climbing gear.
Then I remembered Daniel and how he was determined to not defile himself by eating the Kings food which was prohibited for Hebrews to eat. The verse about that says:
8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. (Daniel 1:8)
He purposed in his heart… ahead of time… and determined he would not commit the act.
And this is how I landed on my word for the year:
The NLT version says, “8 But Daniel was determined not to defile himself …”
Determined, purposed— it all means the same. Decide ahead of time what you will do or not do and stick with it. Don’t change your mind. Stay the course. Finish the race. Win.
I went to the back of my planner and started a list of what I am determined to do this year:
- Lose weight
- Eat better—healthier
- Stop speaking evil of other people ( I included verses with this one— James 4:11, Psalm 101:5, Acts 23:5)
- Make my home a sanctuary for better rest…
This is just my beginning. I can add to it throughout the year as I find more things that I need to be determined about.
I actually put my word for the year into practice right before I sat down to write this blog.
I told myself, “I am determined to get this stupid Christmas tree into this bag that is too small for it, and zip it up, and let my husband take it downstairs to store in the garage.”
And I did it!