I am absolutely in awe of how faithful the Lord is to speak to the very heart of our circumstances! In this journey that He is leading me on to walk by faith and not according to feelings, I find myself wandering in the wilderness somewhere inbetween being freed from absolute bondage to other people's opinion of me and the promised land where the opinions of others holds zero sway over me. The Lord has revealed that I was victim to a stronghold of insecurity and also some of the roots of that stronghold that was planted long ago.
As I have been trying to apply the lesson on naysayers that He gave me a few weeks ago, He has allowed me significant opportunity to practice! During a quiet time this week, the Lord brought me to Deuteronomy 1 and the following scriptures revealed a precious reminder of how the Lord expects me to respond to those who are critical of me as I seek to follow through on what I sense the Lord has laid upon my heart to do.
Once again, we revisit the Israelite spies that surveyed Canaan...
Moses told Israel, "We have reached the hill country. It belongs to the Amorites now, but the LORD our God is giving it to us... He has told us to go in and take this land, so don't hesitate and be afraid." Then all of you came to me and said, "Before we go into this land, let's send some men to explore it. When they come back, they can tell us about the towns we will find and what roads we should take to get there." (vs. 20-22)
The very act of sending in the 12 spies was a step of doubt! God had said "go" and "don't hesitate" and yet the Israelites wanted to hear their fellow man's opinion first. How often do I fall prey to that exact mentality! There are some very specific things that I know the Lord has called me to do and yet in the midst of my insecurities, I hesitate and seek out man's opinion to help alleviate the fear rather than simply trust what the Lord has said.
Praise the Lord that we have a very gracious Heavenly Father! Even though the Israelites were already going against His direction, He still provided a confirmation of His Word through Caleb and Joshua but notice that they were in the minority. Perhaps you find yourself exactly there - remember that even a minority + God's say so = fear not and get going in obedience! Yet, what did they do?
They hid out from the challenge! They "refused to obey the LORD" their God and "stayed in their tents." (vs. 26)
They "grumbled" and gave voice to their fear! (vs. 26, 28) Are you seeing the reminder of our previous lesson from Numbers 14?
They questioned God! "The LORD must hate us - He brought us out of Egypt, just so He could hand us over to the Amorites and get rid of us." Is anyone other than me feeling a healthy dose of conviction?
They listened to the naysaysers and the circumstances became exaggerated! "the men who explored the land told us that the cities are large with walls that reach to the sky." (vs. 28)
They convinced themselves that the obedience was impossible! "We have nowhere to go." (vs. 28) Friends, when are we - when am I - going to quit listening to the lies and start standing AND ADVANCING on the Truth of God?
The Truth is: "Don't worry! The LORD our God will lead the way. He will fight on our side, just as He did when we saw Him do all those things to the Egyptians. And you know that the LORD has taken care of us the whole time we've been in the desert, just as you might carry one of your children." Praise God! What awesome words of assurance! What has He been telling you to trust Him and do? He knows it looks difficult to us. He knows we may even "feel" it's impossible! That doesn't matter. Be strong and courageous! TAKE courage! Quit hesitating and listening to the naysayers and get going! I am preaching this to myself at the top of my lungs. I am weary of wilderness wandering in this area and I am choosing - here and now - to follow His direction right through the flood waters of the Jordan River and plant them on some promised land!
Don't think that I'm saying it's going to be a cake walk. We see from scripture that there are going to be enemies all over our promised land but let's trust the LORD when He says that "the LORD our God is giving it [the land] to us." (vs. 20) We're bound to lose some skirmishes along the way but I can assure you the victory has already been won. The thing is, we'll wander forever if we don't take the Lord at His word and get going along the path where He's leading. With His help, we will "conquer it and live there." (vs. 39b)
What do you say? Are you coming with me?