The Edge of the Promised Land

So this morning as I was reading scripture, I found myself looking in the appendix for something pertaining to ‘contemplation’ or ‘wrestling’…and while there wasn’t something on either of those topics, my eye did scan across the words FOCUS. Then right underneath that title was the subtitle asking, “do you focus more on the negative than the positive”….followed by a page number and verse. Side note here–while I do not find myself to be a glass half empty type of person at all…sometimes, when you’re in the middle of big decisions and giant leaps of faith, my fear (which often times translates to negativity) wants to rear its ugly head and win the battle! So while I was hoping the scripture I was being led to was going to be printed in red and straight from the lips of Jesus, what I found was even better!!!

Numbers 13:25-30

25 At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land. 26 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.27 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. 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country;and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.” 30 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.”

So here is a time where God told the Israelites that the promised land was rich and fertile. And that this land would be theirs! GOD HIMSELF had spoken to Moses to send a group of Israelite men to first hand explore the land of Canaan (the promised land) and to then enter it. Now remember, up until this point, God had miraculously led them out of slavery, through the desert, protected them, fed them and fulfilled every single one of his promises. Yet how interesting that even then, these men were so quick to stop trusting God in the face of something scary. They even can see that this land is exactly what God said it would be…….but they became fearful and voiced their opinion loudly:

31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 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. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anakcome from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

So now we have a small group of men who were feeling defeat before even entering the battle. They saw things that scared them and made it seem to be an impossible undertaking. Oh how quick they were to forget what God had already done for them. They became so focused on their fears rather than their faith that it actually led to their demise. Their negative opinion and humanistic view of a GIANT AND NEVER CHANGING GOD caused not only their death but that of many others. These ten men caused such a great rebellion among the people that they lost perspective. It caused all of them (except two) to focus on someone’s opinion rather than on the fact and truth of WHO God is. Their defeat spread like wildfire and caused so many to feel discouraged as well! In fact, Caleb was the only one willing to take the unpopular stand and go against the crowd! In case you missed it previously, here is the profoundness in this verse:

30 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.”

Caleb had seen the land himself, he had the right attitude because of His trust in God and he proclaimed exactly what the truth translates to…’for we can certainly do it.’ He knew this wasn’t something they could do alone–but he knew with God, anything was possible.

So today I urge you, use caution when you grumble. Make sure you have prayerfully considered voicing a negative/fearful opinion. As the ramifications for it can be much larger than you realize. And if you find yourself in a situation where there seems to be a chorus of despair and everyone is joining in. Be like Caleb. Know God’s truth and stand firm in it. Remember the fact that God will never leave nor forsake you. It is only when we lose perspective and begin to focus on ourselves and our problems when we feel what we might call distance from God. He will not bring you to the edge of the promised land to then not let you in. Trust and wait in great expectancy of His promises to be fulfilled!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

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