A Miraculous Delay
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
Are you the kind of person that likes immediate results? I am. I’ll admit I’m not a very patient person by nature. Waiting frustrates me.
Just ask my kids.
So when God whispers instruction into my life and I choose to trust Him through faithful obedience, I tend to expect that I’ll soon see Him fulfill a promise. After all, Scripture teaches that God blesses the faithful.
But I’ve discovered that God’s timetable rarely matches my own. Sometimes blessings loom just beyond the horizon. Time passes and promises remain unfulfilled. And I get weary from waiting.
Ever been there?
Beloved, just as God calls us to trust His plans, He also insists we trust His timing. So how do you and I keep from becoming weary while we wait? Perhaps we need to allow God to change our perspective.
I want to challenge you to consider something. What if the waiting is actually part of the blessing? What if that time between the promise and its fulfillment actually provides an opportunity to experience God in a way you’d miss without it?
Caleb knows what I’m talking about.
You may be familiar with Caleb’s story. He was one of only two men that God delivered from slavery in Egypt through Moses that made it into the Promised Land. The rest of them died in the desert. Let’s visit Caleb and the Israelites to watch him receive his blessing.
When we left the Israelites last week they were ready to choose a new leader and head back to Egypt. As a result, Moses and Aaron fell facedown, and Joshua joined Caleb to plead with the people to trust the Lord.
Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” Numbers 14:6-9
You may be surprised to hear how the Israelites applauded their faith.
But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. (verse 10)
Dear one, when you choose to step out in faith, you may discover that even God’s own people sometimes turn on you in fear. Unfortunately, you can’t follow Jesus and follow the crowd. But you can rest in this eternal promise: when you stand for Jesus, He will fight for you.
Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites. (verse 10)
God showed up and voiced His anger over their unbelief, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them?” (Numbers 14:11)
I wonder if He’s asking the same questions today.
Beloved, how long will our generation persist in its unbelief? How long will we, the children of God, allow what’s popular to dictate our actions instead of the Word of the Lord? Like the Israelites, our disregard for His Word will bring consequences.
Moses interceded on behalf of the people and God agreed not to destroy them, but their disobedience was not without consequence.
The Lord replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked. Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, 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. . . But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.” Numbers 14:20-24
Even when God offers forgiveness, disobedience will always reap consequences. But just as certainly, faith will always reap blessings. They just may not come in the timing you would choose. Just ask Caleb. He waited 45 years to see the fulfillment of his promise.
How can that be? Wouldn’t God want to bless His faithful servant? Why make him wait? Consider Caleb’s words when he finally received his blessing.
“Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. Joshua 14:10-13
Sure, God could have made a way for Caleb to enter the land at forty, but then Caleb would’ve missed experiencing God’s miraculous presence for the forty-five years he waited.
God faithfully kept His word to give the land to Caleb, but He also gave him an added blessing that had not been promised. He kept age from ravaging his body. Caleb watched the flesh of the rest of the men in the camp wear out while he remained strong. He escaped the aching decay of age and stood at eighty-five as strong and vigorous as he had been at forty. And how much sweeter the taking of that land must have been for him after 45 years!
God always keeps His word, beloved. Always.
If you have been faithful to trust God through your obedience but His promise remains far off, perhaps another blessing waits for you in the interim. Ask God to give you a heart like Caleb, who believed even when he didn’t see. You may discover your wait includes an experience of God that exceeds what you could ask or imagine.
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:13-14