Sunday, March 7
Overcoming GIANT obstacles
Scripture: Numbers 13-14, Matthew 7
Numbers 14:4–9 And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”
5 Then Moses and Aaron fell facedown in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there. 6 Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. 8 If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”
Ten of the 12 spies brought back a bad report about the Promised Land, that it was filled with giants and large fortified cities, that it devoured its inhabitants. They discouraged the people who then proposed an insurrection: get rid of Moses, get a new leader and go back to Egypt. (How quickly we forget!)
Joshua and Caleb alone reminded the people that the Lord was leading and would give them the land. Rather than the land devouring them, they would devour their enemies. “The Lord is with us. Don’t be afraid of them.”
First, how quickly we forget. The Israelites wanted to go back to Egypt every time they faced an obstacle or got discouraged. They quickly forgot that they were slaves in Egypt, oppressed and beaten. (We are far too quick to trade our freedom for what seems like security and safety, for the known and familiar even if it’s bad). We are prone to rewrite history in order to escape present hardship. I’ve watched people “go back to Egypt” in their marriages and in their faith—rewriting history and convincing themselves that the past was worth going back to. Don’t go back! Go forward into God’s promises. He wants the best for you. He brings us out of our slavery to bring us into freedom, into His promises, into the best! It doesn’t mean that it’s easy sledding—but it’s worth it. Don’t go back to Egypt. And don’t rewrite history to justify going back.
Second, focus on the Lord, not the obstacles! The ten spies focused on the giants and the fortified cities and said, “We can’t do it.” Joshua and Caleb focused on the Lord and said, “We can do it! The Lord is with us.” What are you focused on? If we focus on our difficulties, impossibilities, and hardships, we will want to give up and go back to Egypt. But if we focus on the Lord, His power and presence and promises, we will want to go forward into the Promised Land. Focus on the Lord, not the giants!
Prayer: Lord, help me remember Your faithfulness and not rewrite history, and help me focus on You, not the giants I’m facing, and move forward with courage and confidence.