I was speaking with a woman last night who was in despair over her future. She married as a teenager, had a child in her teens, and her husband left her early on. Now her teenage daughter is repeating her pattern. Despairingly, she said “I will never be able to have a substantial job to move out of my low-income housing. My child does not know the Lord and does not really include me in her life, so I do not get to see my new grandchild. Life will never get better.” At times, we can feel hopeless. Like my friend, when we make wrong choices in life, there are consequences to bear. Though God’s promises are still true for us, we may have to walk through some of the effects of past sins. Keep in mind that the Lord promises to “work all things for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). As we turn our hearts to Jesus and commit ourselves to live for His glory, we can cling to this beautiful promise of hope and redemption.
Joshua and Caleb were men of faith in God and His promises. They had grown up in the desert with their fellow Israelites who were not allowed to enter the promised land due to their sin. The Lord told Moses to send men into the land of Canaan (the future promised land) to spy out the land and see its condition. They all came back from the journey boasting of how it was abundant, “flowing with milk and honey” (Numbers 13:27). Unfortunately, ten of the twelve spies then aroused fear in the Israelites by focusing on the size of the people and the fortification of the cities. The other two spies, Joshua and Caleb, reminded the people of God’s promises, presence, and power, and how He would be with them (see Numbers 13-14).
Though they tried to persuade the people to trust the Lord and His promise to give them this abundant land, the other ten evoked fear and discouragement by calling those around them to focus on the obstacles and challenges of this task. It was a sad ending for those who chose to reject God’s promise and calling. Though God forgave them for their disobedience, He took away the blessing of living in this bountiful land. He gave this blessing to Caleb, Joshua, and the next generation. Thus, they fit into the godly group of saints in Hebrews 11:33 who “gained what was promised.” Meditate on these words:
The Lord replies, “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 the men who saw my glory and the miraculous signs I performed in Egypt and in the desert but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times – not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. 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).
Jesus said that He came to give us an abundant life. We have a choice each day - to focus on our circumstances which may look like the giants of Canaan, or to walk according to the riches of God’s promises in His Word. Remember that the power is not in the promise, but rather in the Keeper of the Promise!
Today’s Bible Reading: Numbers 13-14