4-Minute Sermons

DETERMINATION – A Four-Minute Sermon

Excerpt taken from Character Sketches © Institute of Basic Youth Conflicts, 1979.

Used with permission

August 1, 2003

Joshua The Determined Leader

The nation of Israel had grown in strength and number and was now preparing to conquer the land. Through unmistakable evidence, God had led them to this point in their development. This accomplishment would be the greatest in their history. Nothing hindered them from completing the task – nothing, that is, except a strange decision which their leader had recently made.

Rather than taking God at His word, he listened to the people and decided that it would be wise to exercise one caution before taking this next step. Accordingly, he selected twelve men to go in and spy out the land. The nation waited anxiously for their return.

Ten of the twelve spies lacked determination and brought home a bleak report. Two other men returned with them, but their report was in sharp contrast to that of the others. Their great faith and desire to accomplish this national dream gave them the determination to assure the people that with God’s help, the land could be theirs. But the two were outnumbered and the people, deciding that the task was too large for them, chose not to go into the land.

As a consequence, God sent a series of tragic events which plunged the nation into despair. Because of their disobedience and lack of confidence in Him, the Lord crushed their hopes of ever personally achieving this goal.

One of the two men was sickened by his nation’s lack of faith. He carefully reviewed what he would have done had he been the leader. A few years later this very man was chosen to assume leadership. Now he had his opportunity to put into operation the plan of action that would allow the nation to conquer the land as God intended.

He called two trusted men and gave them instructions. They were to do what the original group of twelve had done many years earlier, but from a different perspective. The men did their job well and returned with the information. The Israelites moved ahead. In the years that followed they conquered and subdued all the nations which occupied the land God had given to them.

What was the factor which caused the first leader to fail and the second to succeed? The first group of twelve made their mistake when they spied out the entire land. The total job of conquering these nations overwhelmed them. The second leader, Joshua, learned to complete a seemingly impossible task by concentrating on smaller, achievable goals. He sent his two men out to spy on only one area and one city at a time.

From Deuteronomy 1:19-38 and Joshua 11:15-23



This material is published by the Faith Committee of the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Reproduction and Adaptation is encouraged.