Inspirational Sunday

"...none of you men who are over twenty years old will enter the land that I solemnly promised to give you as your own..."
Numbers 14:29-30 (CEV)

Rae's Thought: This week's inspiration is for those who have not reached their promised land. There could be several reasons why you haven't crossed over, but I'd like to focus on two main reasons: your own rebellion or lack of faith in God and God's raising you up to do His will.

Your own rebellion/lack of faith. Let's look at the Israelites as an example. In Numbers 13, Moses and Aaron sent 12 men to spy on the land God had promised the Israelites. The men spent 40 days spying on the inhabitants and taking notes. At the end of the 40 days, the 12 came back with two slightly different reports. Ten men reported that, although the land was flowing with milk and honey, just as God had promised, (1) the cities were huge and fortified, (2) the people were strong and of great size, and (3) there was no way the Israelites could conquer the land. Only two men - Joshua and Caleb - believed that they could definitely take on the inhabitants because the Lord was with the people of Israel (Numbers 14:9). Who did the Israelites listen to? The 10 men. Despite all that they'd seen God do - their exodus out of Egypt, parting the Red Sea, manna from heaven, to name a few - the Israelites forgot all about God's power. Because of their unbelief, all of the adults, except for Caleb and Joshua, missed out on the promised land.

"Those who do not trust God, continually vex themselves...Sinners are ruined by their own rebellion" (Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible). Sometimes, we, as children of God, get angry with God and wonder why, if we're going to church and saying our prayers, haven't we experienced life to the fullest. It never crosses our minds that it's not God, but it's us. Are you doubting God today? Despite all He's done for you, have you forgotten all about His power and who He is? Has God given you an assignment that you have yet to complete? Your doubt and/or rebellion is what's holding you back from your promised land...that abundant life God yearns for you to have.

God is raising you up to do His will. Did you know that, even though Joshua and Caleb were the only two who trusted God completely, they had to wander around in the desert for 40 years before reaching the promised land? When I first read that, I felt it was unfair. I mean, when the 10 men came back with the negative report, riling the Israelites up against God, Joshua and Caleb got upset, to the point of tearing their clothes - which, by the way, was a sign of great distress. I asked God why couldn't these two men of God automatically go to the promised land while the doubters died out. His answer: The desert was their training ground. You see, although Joshua and Caleb trusted God, they weren't completely ready for what God had in store for them. While in the desert, God molded, guided, and prepared them for what was to come. By the time the 40 years were up, both Joshua and Caleb were ready to do God's will. Joshua succeeded Moses in leading the people of Israel and Caleb conquered Hebron, the main city that had the 10 spies up in arms. If you remember, the city was large, fortified, and had people who were of giant size. Not bad for an 85 year old, right?

The Bible doesn't say how Joshua and Caleb felt after finding out that they'd have to wander in the desert, but from what I do know about them, I can imagine they took the news pretty well. They both strike me as men of God who trusted that God knew what He was doing. It was their faith in God that kept them from being banned from the promised land. It was their trust in God that brought them through the desert and across the Jordan River. If you're "wandering," keep that trust in God. He may be preparing you for something big...something beyond your wildest imagination. In His mind, you may not be ready yet. Oh, but when He deems you ready, you can best believe you'll cross over with the power and victory He afforded you! Matthew Henry tells us that, "while we have the presence of God with us, we need not fear the most powerful force against us." When He reveals that great mission - that big assignment - He has for you, you can conquer it with no fear and the belief that He is with you.

Spend some time to take a good look at yourself. If you find that it's your own doubt and rebellion holding you back, I have three words for you: request, repent, and remember! Request God's forgiveness. Tell Him you're truly sorry for ever doubting Him. Let Him know you're ready to trust Him and do what He's called you to do. Repent and turn away from your doubt and rebellion. You'll be tempted to go back (Satan's very persistent), but don't. Don't let Satan trap you again. Remember all that God has already done for you. He's gotten you through some crazy stuff, hasn't He? Guess what? He can do it again! If you find that you haven't crossed over because God is preparing you, PRAISE HIM! This only means He's about to use you in a big way. He's chosen you to do His will and to bring glory to His kingdom. Isn't that awesome? When you've finally crossed over, give God the glory that He so rightly deserves.