Wednesday, January 5, 2022

What Keeps Us From Claiming the Promise

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Then the LORD spoke to Moses saying, "Send out for yourself men so that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I am going to give to the sons of Israel; you shall send a man from each of their fathers' tribes, every one a leader among them." So Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran at the command of the LORD, all of them men who were heads of the sons of Israel. Numbers 13:1-3

What Keeps Us From Claiming the Promise

Yesterday we mentioned the Children of Israel and their “Canaan-Land” opportunity that they missed. What happened to them and how do we miss our blessings and opportunities that God sets before us? It is impossible to understand the huge impact this story can have on our lives without knowing the history.

A little back story They had been delivered from Pharoh’s army by God’s miracle parting of the Red Sea for them to escape. Then they were traveling through the wilderness for two years, on the way to the Promised Land. The Promised Land was Canaan. This was God’s blessing for them. This was the promise He had made over 600 years before they were even born. This was a covenant God made with Abraham - I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.  Genesis 17:7-8 God Abraham and established him as the head of a new nation called Israel. But 600 years later, they are slaves in Egypt, oppressed and persecuted. Now was the time for them to fulfill their destiny. 

They came through the Red Sea and camped in the Sinai Dessert Sinai desert where they camped for about a year - as God molded them into a nation. This was a very important timeJust a few weeks after leaving Mt. Sinai, the Israelites arrived at Kadesh-Barnea, the doorstep to the Promised Land.  Four hundred years of exile could be over in a few days if they were would allow the divine ophthalmologist to give them a spiritual perspective.

Here they were - at the doorstep to the Promised Land - Canaan. God had led them directly to this opportunity - to this blessing He planned for them over 600 years earlier. All they had to do was have the faith to step into this opportunity. They were so close! Yet they didn’t step into the opportunity before them.

Here’s what happened next - God told Moses to pick leaders from each tribe (there were 12) to send into the promised land to scout it out. There are referred to as spies because they went in as spies. He gave them three specific things to look for when they went in: 

·       See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. 

·       What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified?

·      How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor?  Are there trees on it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.

Twelve men went in and twelve men came out. Here is what they found -  We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw giants there.  Numbers 13:28

The promised land was everything God said it would be. They saw all the goodness and brought back samples of the amazing fruit. But they saw giants and powerful people and fortified cities. And they told the people that they should definitely not take this opportunity.  So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. Numbers 13:32

This bad report caused the rest of the nation to agree - they did not want to risk their safety to claim this promise that was literally a few steps away. Two of the spies - Joshua and Caleb did not debate the fact that there were giants in the land, but they said, If the LORD is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us--a land which flows with milk and honey.  Numbers 14:8

Think about how badly they wanted this land flowing with milk and honey, and they had eaten a lot of manna. They had been in bondage as slaves, oppressed and persecuted. God had rescued them, molded them into the nation He created them to be and delivered them on the doorstep of the Promised Land. He made it so easy for them - all they had to do was obey. What caused them to reject this perfect gift? 

Fear - they were afraid of the giants. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight. Numbers 13:33 The spies also said that they were devouring the inhabitants, yet all twelve spies got out without a scratch. They came back holding the fruit in their hands, but only focused on the problems they saw. God knew about the giants and He was already prepared. There are always obstacles to claiming the promise God has for us, but that is part of our journey. We grow in our faith when we trust God’s directions, in spite of the giants in the land. God’s promise was Israel’s title deed to the land as well as His guarantee that they would defeat their enemies. He is never taken off guard or by surprise over anything. He provides for everything we need. 

Distraction - they were distracted by all the obstacles and quit focusing on God and His promise. They took their eyes off the One who could overcome anything they had to face. He had delivered them out of bondage, parted the Red Sea for them to escape to safety and now they had forgotten all that He had done. Our circumstances can distract us, they can even derail us completely! We also create distractions for ourselves because we don’t want to deal with our life. We are distracted by our phones, our TV’s, our computers, friends, everything around us. By not focusing on Him more, we can miss the opportunity He lays before right at our feet.

Are you holding the promise of God in your hand but focusing on your circumstances and problems instead? Are you letting fear and distraction keep you from claiming your promise? You are on the threshold of the land flowing with mild and honey. You are there - one step away. Will you trust Him and take that step today? The blessings and abundant life that await you are more than you can imagine. 

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