It's too hard.
I can't do it.
Have you been in situations when you've heard these words? Did it shock you to hear them coming form your own mouth?
Maybe it was your job or your business. Maybe it was while in pursuit of your dream. Maybe you committed to something and immediately regretted it.
As we travel on our spiritual road trip, we will no doubt run into road blocks. Each road block requires that we make a choice. Do we turn around and go back, or do we find another way?
In our road trip story of Israel, God brought the Israelites to the Promised Land. They were right there at the doorstep of freedom. Twelve scouts went to check out the city and reported back all the things they had seen.
But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!”
But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” 32 So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!”
There they were, right there at their destination. They'd seen God free them from slavery, steer them away from danger, part the Red Sea, provide food and water for them, and speak to them through Moses. God had never been more real to more people. And yet, they were filled with fear by what they heard.
Their road block came in the form of a seemingly impenetrable city. Taking the city would be hard, but they had all the evidence they should have needed to trust God's promise and move forward with confident faith that they would be victorious.
Where does your trust end and fear begin? When are God's promises not enough for you to stand on when facing a difficult situation?
Maybe you're saying, "I know God is good, Rob, but you don't understand my situation."
You're right. I don't. But here is what I have learned. What you're doing, what I do, what Israel did...We compare ourselves to our circumstances instead of comparing our circumstances to God.
We compare ourselves to our circumstances instead of comparing our circumstances to God.
So no matter what you are going through, God is bigger. No matter how impossible it seems, God can handle it. No matter how unique, God is already putting the pieces in place to get you through it. No matter how bad, the sin has already been paid for.
Israel chose fear over faith. They went into panic mode and, again, went looking for a different leader. And again, God was over it. He was fed up and frustrated. It was one of those classic Old Testament moments when God blazed with anger.
Numbers 14: 17-19
“Please, Lord, prove that your power is as great as you have claimed. For you said, ‘The Lord is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. But he does not excuse the guilty. He lays the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations.’ In keeping with your magnificent, unfailing love, please pardon the sins of this people, just as you have forgiven them ever since they left Egypt.”
What would Israel do without Moses looking out for them? He was such an unlikely leader: basically a fugitive who ran into the wilderness to escape his sin, who had fully intended to live out the rest of his life as a shepherd. But God had different plans for him and Moses chose the path of faith and not fear. Moses chose to be an adult and do the hard things.
No one ever said following God would be easy. In fact, it could be the hardest thing you ever commit to in your life. It will break you down and reveal things about you that you might not want to know. It will paint a target on your chest for the enemy. It will force you to deal with things in your life that you'd probably rather avoid. you can't fly under the radar when you follow God. You can't be a part of the crowd. You'll lose friends. You'll argue with family. You'll be made fun of. You'll be questioned. You'll be faced with choices you never thought you'd have to make.
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.
Stop looking at your circumstances and start looking at God.
I almost titled this post "40 More Years" or "Don't Be Israel." Things didn't end so well for the people that left Egypt as freed slaves. When they chose fear over faith, God sent them back into the wilderness. All but two of the people over the age of 20 that left Egypt actually made it to the Promised Land. The rest died in the wilderness never having stepped foot into real freedom.
Don't be Israel. Choose faith. It's uncomfortable, but it's worth it.
Gather with us this Sunday as we conclude our series, Are We There Yet?