Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. Psalm 16:5-6 NIV
Last week we turned our attention to what it means to live by faith. By God’s design, faith isn’t something we merely hold in our hearts. Rather, we express faith as we trust His commands through obedience. Each time we actively trust Him, we move one step further into the blessing He has planned for us. There we will witness the outpouring of His grace.
A delightful inheritance awaits you in Jesus Christ. Ground lies ahead of you that Jesus means for you to claim in His name. And yet many of us are stuck floundering in the desert while the promised blessings available in Jesus lay just beyond the river of life. Perhaps it’s time we dip our toes in and let the current of the Spirit carry us into our Promised Lands.
The Israelites once stood where you now stand, their feet camped on desert ground while their Promised Land of blessing lay ahead of them. God had answered their cries for deliverance from Egypt and led them to the banks of their inheritance. Then Moses chose a representative from each of the twelve tribes to explore the land God had promised them and bring back a report.
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.” Numbers 13:27
Imagine that! They found the land exactly the way God had described it. God had called them to believe by faith, but now they had witnessed it with their eyes. Surely they would run toward their allotted inheritance!
Unfortunately they also witnessed something else with their eyes.
But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. Numbers 13:28
Suddenly their adversary seemed bigger than their God.
Fear overshadowed and erased their witness of God’s faithfulness. It didn’t matter that God had once again proven Himself Faithful and True, that He had kept His word and led them to a beautiful land. They quickly forgot that God had vanquished their Egyptian enemies before their eyes. In that moment, they chose to focus instead on the powerful enemy that lay ahead of them. Rather than fight and believe God for victory, they chose to remain in the desert and grumble against God for bringing them there in the first place.
So much for “seeing is believing.”
Dear one, how often do we think that if only we could witness the miracles described in Scripture, we would believe? We’ve convinced ourselves that we would easily trust and follow if we could see the things the Israelites saw. Yet the Israelites saw, and still did not believe.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
True faith comes from being certain even when we cannot see. In reality, if we do not possess the faith when we don’t see, we won’t likely possess it after we do. Just look at the Israelites. Seeing didn’t translate to believing.
But one among the crowd did believe. His lone voice rose to proclaim God’s faithfulness.
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.” Numbers 13:30
Caleb chose to trust that the God who redeemed them was stronger than their adversary. The rest of them argued, claiming they couldn’t win against this much larger enemy. They spread a bad report throughout the camp, and “that night all the people of the community raised their voices and wept aloud” (Numbers 14:1). Their fear led to this conclusion, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt” (verse 4).
Really? After all that they had seen God do an their behalf, they thought their best option was to head back to the slavery they had cried out for deliverance from?
You and I can be quick to accuse Israel when we read their story as history. But we also just as easily behave just like them.
Jesus stretched Himself out on a cross to redeem us, not just from sin’s penalty but also from its power over us, “For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” Romans 6:14
He has promised us victory over sin and the enemy’s power in our lives, but He calls to take up His Word, the Sword of the Spirit, and go to battle to claim it. He guarantees victory, promising that we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
Yet we often see our enemy as too powerful to overcome, so we refuse to go to battle. Instead we choose to grumble at God from the desert, or worse, run back to the slavery from which He rescued us.
What if you and I determined instead to be like Caleb, choosing to believe God’s promises even if no one else around us agrees? The world may tell us there’s no point in fighting, but God’s faithfulness remains sure. If we will trust Him for His promises, even if we have to stand alone, He will prove Himself. He did to Caleb.
Caleb’s faith ushered him into his inheritance. He was one of 600,000 men who left Egypt to journey to the land God promised them. He was one of only 2 that actually entered it and took possession of it. The rest of them died in the desert because of their unbelief.
Dear one, let’s not die in the desert when our Promised Lands stand within reach!