Have you ever been afraid of an interview, a big test, a game, or speaking in front of a group of people? If so, you can remember the words of Joshua, “the Lord is with us: fear them not” (Numbers 14:9).
In week 4 of our “Where’s Norm series”, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder spoke of the 5 P’s: Purpose, Picture, Plan, Part, and People. The Israelites were checking out the Promised Land, ready to enter, but not really prepared. Today we look at the fifth and final P for preparing for a new beginning in order to support the bottom line of “it’s not about being ready, but being prepared”.
When Israel was still in the wilderness, Moses sent one spy from each of the twelve tribes of Israel into Canaan. After 40 days, ten of the spies reported that it was impossible to enter the Promised Land because the people who lived there were huge and stronger than the children of Israel. Even though all twelve men traveled throughout the same land and saw the same things they reported two very different observations.
Ten of the spies saw many scary things and doubted God. “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” They said they saw giants “and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight …” Their lack of faith spread like an infection through the Israelites, who forgot all the miracles they had seen and doubted the nature of God.
But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” 32 So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. 33 We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!”
The last two spies, Joshua and Caleb, told the children of Israel not to complain or to be afraid of the strength of humans. Instead, they should trust God and believed that God was with them, that nothing could stop them from conquering the residents and entering the land God promised them since the time of Abraham.
But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!”
Despite Joshua and Caleb’s confidence and trust in God, the Israelites still did not believe.
The path is a lot quicker when we trust God right from the start. If the Israelites would have listened to Joshua and Caleb, they would have entered the Promised Land much quicker, instead, God sent them back to the wilderness for forty years, for their disobedience and insistence on their way over God’s. Unfortunately, as a result of their disbelief, the entire generation that disobeyed the Lord was never allowed to enter the Promised Land. It was only after the entire generation died that the children, now adults themselves, were allowed to be led into the Promised Land by Joshua.
Like the Israelites, we too have people sharing contradicting perspectives about our future ahead. Some people in our lives are spreading seeds of doubt. These seeds can be dangerous and keep us from the new thing that God wants to do in our lives. There are others who are encouraging. They cheer us on and embolden us to move forward. Their voices are necessary for us to experience God’s best. The people we need most in our lives, though, are those that point us to God. They remind us that God is worthy of our trust and that his plan is perfect for us. They are like Joshua and Caleb. When we have people like them in our lives, we can prepare for the new beginning that God has for us, no matter the challenges ahead.
How’s your level of trust today?
Do you have people in your life that point out God’s goodness and encourage you to trust him?
Joshua and Caleb trusted in God, but the Israelites struggled to trust God, just as we do sometimes. If you’re more like the ten spies than Joshua and Caleb, you may feel like a “grasshopper” facing a giant in your life. All you need to do is trust, it’s as simple as that. Enter your promised land, walk with God wherever He takes you and watch God bless you!
Write down the names of the people who help you trust God’s plan. Give them a call this weekend and let them know how much you appreciate them. If you are struggling to add names to your list, ask God to bring people into your life that can fill this void. Consider getting more involved at church. Join a Group or DreamTeam where you can connect with others and develop relationships.
Abba Father, I confess that I sometimes trust in myself instead of trusting in you. Help me to surrender my ways of thinking to your ways and thank you for giving us the Holy Spirit to be our counselor. I thank you for each person you have put in my life, and I especially thank you for the ones that point me to you. I pray that I can be a Joshua and a Caleb that trusts you and helps others do the same. In Jesus’ name, amen.
This post was written by Gary Schnabel, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.
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