Tuesday, October 8, 2013

So They Wandered and Wandered…

“Now behold, the Lord has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today. I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in.” Joshua 14:10-11 (NASB95)

In the devotional yesterday, Caleb and Joshua returned from scouting the Promised Land and told the children of Israel that they could do it…they could claim the Promised Land.  For the next 40 years Caleb waited to lay hold to that claim.  He remembered what he saw and told the story repeatedly of what they had seen. 

But the children of Israel did not obey God and go into the Promised Land.  As punishment they continued to wander.  And wander they did for 40 more years.  Not only did they wander but consider this – they were so close to the Promised Land that they were able to send the spies in and have them return within a short period of time; so you know they were pretty close.  They didn’t have cars or planes; they travelled on foot so they must have been close.  Yet, they chose to disobey and turn away from the promise of God.  The people showed unbelief when they said, “We are not able!” Instead of reporting the blessings of the land, the ten spies emphasized the difficulties, giving an “evil report” of God’s holy land.

Unbelief always sees the obstacles; faith always sees the opportunities.
Isn’t that how we operate sometimes?  We may not realize it but we may be so close to the promise that God has for us and yet we choose not to claim it by being disobedient.  Don’t you know that God is watching and saying to Himself, “You’re right there!  Just obey me and my promise for you is yours to claim!  You are so close!  Don’t blow it now!”  Yes I can imagine I have given Him cause to shake His holy head a few times. 

Imagine how Caleb and Joshua must have felt as well.  They knew that they could win this battle and claim this mountain if only they could get everyone else to go along.  But they would not and the majority rules.  So they continued to wander.  The real interesting thing about the next 40 years for the Children of Israel is that they wandered and wandered, but not far from the Promised Land at all. 

Consider this by Wayne Blank: If one looks at a map of the region between Egypt and Israel, the question of why it took 40 years to travel a straight-line distance of only about 240 miles is rather startling. Why an average of only 6 miles per year, which seems incredibly slow, even for people on foot? The answer is because the 40 years wilderness wandering wasn't a journey, as much as it was a death sentence for those who had refused the opportunity to enter the Promised Land not long after they left Egypt. Instead of a relatively direct course from Egypt to Israel, the generation that refused to enter the land promised to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob turned back and wandered around and around in the wilderness until they were all gone. For those who rebelled against God, the Exodus became a journey without a destination, and for the others, it became a matter of taking the long way home.

“Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”  ― Thomas A. Edison

Don’t miss your opportunity to claim God’s promise for you when He is leading.  Don’t be afraid you cannot conquer the giants in the way of your promise because through you God can take the giants down.  If you are wandering, perhaps because of the disobedience of someone else like Caleb and Joshua were, keep believing and stay close to God.  It cannot be emphasized too much that God honors faith and judges unbelief. Faith leads to obedience and glorifies God; unbelief leads to rebellion and death.  By the time they were able to claim the promise, the ten spies who brought the negative report were dead.  Caleb and Joshua were the only two of the twelve spies still living.  Caleb was a man of spiritual vision that gave him spiritual vitality, and it led him to spiritual victory.  Ten men behind him lay in the dusty grave because they neglected to nurture their faith in a powerful God when the chips are down.

We have the Word of God filled with His promises and assurances. There is no reason why any of us should wander in unbelief when we can be walking in victory and caiming the spiritual riches we have in Christ.

Scripture to Claim:
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  Hebrews 11:1

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