Friday, March 18, 2016

Refusing to Enter

Exodus 14:4 - So they said to one another, "Let us select a leader and return to Egypt."

More on the Promised Land!

In Numbers 13 and 14 Moses and the Israelites had come to the land of Canaan where a group of men, one each of the twelve tribes of Israel, were sent to spy on the land. When they returned it was deemed that this land truly flowed with milk and honey and the fruit of the land was rich and abundant. But they countered this with more news. According to ten of the twelve spies, the people and cities were strong, imposing people. They felt threatened. 

One of the two remaining spies, Caleb, spoke up suggesting they take this land because he felt they had the strength to do it. The ten were adamant that the people were too big, too strong, that they were like giants to grasshoppers. And they complained and made the suggestion above. They whined that if they had to die, why send them on this journey to die when they could have died in Egypt where "life was better" (as slaves).

How often have we heard the Gospel preached, or urgings made by others, to come, to listen, to enter in? We see the Promised Land that God brings as good on one hand and restrictive on the other. Oh, that we could live in the world and do what we wish (Egypt) but have the good of the land that God gives. What the world has to offer is nothing compared to what God has to offer. But a decision must be made. Do we want control of our lives or do we want to give God, who created us and knows all about us, the control? Hard decision, isn't it? We cannot, will not, have both. In one place is life, in the other death.

We do not know what God has for each of us but if we choose to follow Him we can know one thing, He will provide what we need. It won't always be easy, nor will it always be what we think it should be (this is my struggle), we will have our problems and trials, like the rest of the world, but if we endure to the end, the reward will be greater than we can imagine. This is called faith. It's trusting God with our lives, not trusting self or man. The ultimate reward is eternal life. Just as Jesus came to this world to die for our sins, He rose again. If we give our lives to Him we die to self and at the end of our life we rise again spiritually to eternal life with Christ. 

God took His beloved people, Israel, out of their life of bondage, not without struggles, listened to their complaining, but continued to provide for them. They could not let go of what they knew for something they would have to trust Him for. Oh, that people would see this! It's a step of faith that when taken will bring about a glorious end. 

We can enter into this new life, new land. It is our Promised Land. Life looks different. We see through the eyes of God not self or man. There is a better understanding of why there is so much evil in the world. Even politics looks different! We see what is meaningless...and what is truly meaningful. There is hope, joy and peace in the midst of what goes on around us.

The second spy who believed this land of Canaan, the Promised Land, was worth entering into was Joshua. Here is what he and Caleb had to say. It is a statement just as good for us today. Like today it was not met with much enthusiasm. In fact the others wanted to stone them. That is how the Gospel message is met quite frequently! We can fight entering into His rest. If we stop fighting He will delight in us. 

Numbers‬ ‭14:6-9‬ ‭- But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’ Only do not rebel against the LORD, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them.”
P.S. - After Israel's disobedience God swore those who opposed going in would never enter. He allowed them to wander for forty years in that wilderness. That took care of the disobedient generation and raised up one who only saw God's power, strength and provision. Those were allowed to cross over. 

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