Pastor Kevin preached today in church. His text was the last chapter of Deuteronomy into the beginning of Joshua. Those chapters chronicle the end of Moses' life (as well as leadership of Israel) and the beginning of Joshua's leadership. Moses had been with the people a long time. After leading them out of slavery in Egypt and through the delivering waters of the Red Sea, he spent 40 insufferable years with them in the wilderness.
First they complain that there is no water. God provides the water. Then they complain that there is no food. God provides the food. Then they complain that there is no water again.
They've seen God take care of them again and again, but they keep chiding Moses with how much better off they were in oppressive Egypt. It eventually gets to Moses. At one point, instead of commanding water from a rock, he strikes it. Twice. God is not pleased with Moses' disobedience, and he is not allowed to enter into the promised land. In fact, when he dies, Moses is 120 years old with perfect vision and leadership capacity. The negativity of the people has gotten to Moses too much. It's time for new leadership.
So Joshua is raised up. He grew up amidst the grumbling and complaining, he was the only one of the twelve spies besides Caleb who had scoped out the Promised Land and came back optimistic. God tells him to be strong and courageous as a leader. He repeats that admonition several times in the opening verses of Joshua.
Negativity creeps into our lives--at least it does mine, and I don't think I'm alone. It's easy to start thinking about how the economy has us down or a job loss or a troubled marriage or personal failures. The negativity of the culture around us becomes our own.
Let's head into what lies before us with boldness and courage, not listening to the negativity and grumbling around us, but with assurance that we can do all things through Christ who gives us the strength to do what He has called us to do (Philippians 4:13)