Exodus 33:14 (NIV) The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
This week I started reading Numbers. Basically, I was suppose to have read it last week, but I skipped it and read Deuteronomy instead. This week, as I was reading Numbers, I empathized with Moses in how his heart must have been in anguish. I identified with Caleb this time.
As I was telling my youth about reading Numbers, they were like, isn’t that just a census you are reading? I told them that is what I thought at first, as to why I fought reading it. I found out that they had heard the story of why the Israelites were not allowed into the promise land from the summary in Deuteronomy, but there is so much that we see in Numbers.
In Chapter 13 we see the twelve men sent from the twelve different tribes being sent out to look at the land. They even brought back a single cluster of grapes that took two men to carry! Verses 27-29 in the Message Translation: We went to the land to which you sent us and, oh! It does flow with milk and honey! Just look at this fruit! The only thing is that the people who live there are fierce, their cities are huge and well fortified. Worse yet, we saw descendants of the giant Anak. Amalekites are spread out in the Negev; Hittities, Jebusites, and Amorites hold the hill country; and the Canaanites are established on the Mediterranean Sea and along the Jordan.
This is my guy right here! Sometimes I feel like Caleb the cheer leader. In verse 30 (MSG), Caleb interrupted, called for silence before Moses and said, “Let’s go up and take the land – now. We can do it.”
Sometimes I feel like Caleb the cheer leader.
We read on how the other men carry on how much land it is. How much stronger the other inhabitants are. The whole community get in an uproar and cry all night long. Then they go back to wishing things were like the old ways. At least in Egypt they knew how to handle those challenges. They were slaves, but they were use to that kind of life.
This is what I think of when I hear believer’s complain about having to wear a mask because of COVID. I have to admit that it is uncomfortable. I have compassion for my husband that has to wear one all day long in his work environment. I have to wear one to enter the gym, to go grocery shopping, to drop off items at the post office, etc. What it has not stopped me from doing is showing love. I still make it a point to talk to that grocery clerk. I want to be aware of God moments even in the midst of my discomfort of wearing a mask. I often think, what can God do with this?
Numbers 14: 6-9 (MSG) Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephenneh, members of the scouting party, ripped their clothes and addressed the assembled People of Isreal: “The land we walked through and scouted out is a very good land – very good indeed. If God is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land that flows, as they say, with milk and honey. And he’ll give it to us. Just don’t rebel against God! And don’t be afraid of those people. Why, we’ll have them for lunch! They have no protection and God is on our side. Do not be afraid of them!”
How do we rebel against God today? By not being where He told us to be, doing what He told us to do. Do you not think He knows that you are required to wear a mask now? I do understand the autistic and there are other medical reasons. I am not talking about that, I am talking about the mature in Christ. I am talking about how there is a watching world of unbelievers that need hope and they are watching how we walk.
Other than wearing a mask, let’s look at the fact that we are scared of the unknown because of living this way for so long. Maybe God has been urging you to get a job or even a better job. I was telling my youth that in order to have the type of life you want to live, you start acting like and preparing for it now. You want to be a successful person, you act like you are a successful person. You want to have your own home, drive a nice car, then start preparing now. Your life is only as small as your thought life brings it to be. You want to be seen as someone who can make good choices, stop ordering chicken nuggets and picking out the vegetable when you go out to eat! (OK, that might be a little pet peeve of mine).
Like Joshua and Caleb, I feel like people are about ready to throw stones at me. All I want to do is scream “stop your complaining!”
Numbers 14:11-12 (MSG) Just then the bright Glory of God appeared at the Tent of Meeting. Every Israelite saw it. God said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me like dirt? How long refuse to trust Me? And with all these signs I’ve done among them! I’ve had enough – I’m going to hit them with a plague and kill them. But I’ll make you into a nation bigger and stronger than they ever were.”
I underlined the “how long refuse to trust Me.” This is what I hear when a believer complains. Of course we know that God does not kill them all. It is after this encounter that we find out that only Joshua and Caleb will be entering the Promised Land, but everyone one twenty and older would not. This is when God turns the camp around and makes them wander in the wilderness.
They had to wander forty more years in the dessert. We read in Joshua how they entered the land and victory after victory given to them. This is what I want you to get. The people that had inhabited the land that was promised to them had not changed, they had probably grown in numbers. Your surroundings are not going to change unless you start to act. God has made a promise to you, but you have to do your part. Stop hiding, stop complaining, stop lamenting on what was.
Balaam was summoned by Balak to curse the Israelite camp and bless his. Balaam could not keep himself from speaking God’s words only. He feared God, more than he feared displeasing Balak. It was Balaam who spoke this revelation found in Numbers 23:17-24 (taken from out of the Message Translation), “God is not a man, one given to lies, and not a son of man changing his mind. Does he speak and not do what he says? Does he promise and not come through? I was brought here to bless; and now he’s blessed – how can I change that?“
Stop waiting for God to change things. He can do so much more when we understand who He truly is! Watch your world change when you start walking out in confidence that He has already made the way. I understand there are giants out there, but like Caleb I am cheering you on! God is on our side, who can be against us!!
Lots of us like to identify with Joshua and Caleb, including me, however when we are put under pressure or a very difficult situation, many of us would be just like the ten spies.