Where There's A Promise, There's A Way
Have you ever struggled with fear? Or maybe uncertainty? Or the fear of uncertainty?
Or maybe there is a bad habit or addiction in your life that you struggle to break, even though you know your life would be so much better without it?
You know that if you obey the Lord you will receive a blessing. However, there is an obstacle in your way. There is something standing in front of you that must be conquered before you can attain the blessing on the other side.
Most likely, you already have something that has come into your mind that either you or someone you know is dealing with. As you continue reading, I want you to keep that thing in your mind and see if you discover any parallels to the story we are about to unpack.
The Struggle is Real
“The Lord said to Moses, Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.’”
In these two verses, God is instructing Moses to send scouts into the land. God is giving clear directions as to what he expected Moses and the people of Israel to do and there is a promise hidden in there: “Which I am giving the Israelites.” God has not concealed the outcome here; it’s pretty cut and dry.
Let’s jump down a few verses.
“ So they went up and explored the land from the Desert of Zin as far as Rehob, toward Lebo Hamath. They went up through the Negev and came to Hebron, where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, lived. (Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) When they reached the Valley of Eshkol, they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them, along with some pomegranates and figs.”
In these verses we see that the Israelites did exactly as the Lord had commanded! Who says the Israelites never obeyed the Lord? And what do they find while out on their little sight-seeing trip? They discover that the things the Lord had told them are true and the land is indeed plentiful—a land flowing with milk and honey.
If that were the end of this story, the rest of our Bible would read a little different.
But then we read Numbers 13:26-28
“ They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there.
Why does there always have to be a but?
The scouts came back and said everything was great and exactly how the Lord told them it would be, but…that but is their turning point from obedience to disobedience.
Is any of this starting to sound familiar to anyone? Keep in mind the mental image of that “thing” we talked about in the beginning.
The Plot Thickens
The story gets worse, though.
“ Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”
But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
I don’t know about you, but when I read this I get a mental picture of the guy with a little angel on one shoulder and a little devil on the other. And, just like the cartoons we’ve seen, the little devil seems to be bigger and louder than the little angel.
We read on…
“That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”
Even with the promise straight from God, the encouragement of Caleb and Joshua, and all of the physical evidence of the great blessings of the land, the fear of the 10 scouts still spread throughout the entire nation of Israel. They started making excuses as to why they couldn’t enter the land (it was what was best for their children). They immediately fell back to longing for the “comfort/security” of captivity, not because captivity in Egypt was good/pleasant, but because it was what they knew and what was familiar.
The Light at the End of the Tunnel
So again, going back to that “thing” in your mind. Do you see any parallels yet?
Has God given you a calling? Has He told you to take that leap of faith? Is it an addiction you can’t give up? Is it a person you need to forgive?
Whatever it may be, deep down we know that our lives will be better if we obey God’s command to us. But it is so tempting to let fear creep in and to be frightened of the obstacles that may follow.
What do we see in this story though? We see that when we give into those fears and shrink back from those obstacles, we not only lose out on the blessing on the other side, but we are also left with the consequences of our actions (or lack thereof). Just as we see in Numbers 14:22-23:
“Not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times— not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it.”
I want to encourage us all to not let fear or the feeling that you can’t conquer those obstacles in front of you rob you of the blessings that God has for those who obey Him. If He makes a promise, He will provide a way.
There is a quote from Charles Stanley that my mom used to always say when I was growing up: “Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him.” Had the Israelites just lived by that one sentence they would have been blessed beyond their wildest dreams.
Remember that God will always provide what is needed to accomplish what He has called you to do! There is no obstacle that he hasn’t already foreseen and no promise to us that he will not fulfill.