Peace to you, Brothers and Sisters!
This week we are continuing our journey with Moses and the Israelites as they camp in the Desert of Paran, near Canaan.
Since we began our study with the 12 plagues we have seen God work miracles over and over in the lives of His people. He has rescued them from slavery and fed them with manna and quail. He has given them water from rocks and has purified water in streams that were unclean. He has given them protection and He has even dwelt among them.
In our story this week he declares they will have Canaan: the land of milk and honey! Moses follows God’s instructions to send men from each tribe to the land of Canaan. Twelve men journey into Canaan and spend 40 days exploring the land God will give them. Ten men saw the land as challenge after challenge. They saw tall walls and they saw tall men, all capable of defeating the soldiers of Israel; but, two men, Joshua and Caleb saw opportunity and promise. They viewed the land not as something they could attain but as something that had already been given to them through God’s promise.
It is true the Canaanites were capable of defeating Israel but they were NOT capable of defeating God. In Numbers 14:9 Joshua and Caleb warned the community not to disobey God and encouraged them by reminding them that the Lord was with them and there was nothing the Canaanites could do to stop God from delivering the land to the Israelites.
The Israelites stayed true to form. They believed only the bad reports from the 10 spies and cried out again, “You should have just left us in Egypt to die!” Over and over through their journey they have cried out in defeat…even in the face of God’s promise for victory.
In the end, the 10 spies who brought back a bad report died as a result of their sin against God and all of Israel was forced to wander. They would have another 40 years in the wilderness to practice trusting God and no one but Caleb and Joshua would be rewarded with arrival into the Promised Land…but they WOULD be rewarded. God stayed true to His promise and brought the people back.
In journey of the Israelites we see such a wonderful picture of God. He is a rescuer, provider, judge and jury. He rewards those who do not deserve reward and punishes those who have sinned. In the end, He always forgives those who cry out for mercy.
What can we learn from this story?
It is easy to look at the Israelites and say, “How could you doubt God after He has proven Himself to you over and over?! Look at the miracles! How can you not believe?!” The truth is we are all like the Israelites. Probably more often than we would like to admit.
God wakes us each morning and lays us safely to bed each night. He gives us each breath and the strength for each step. He provides our food. He provides water for our thirst and he has rescued us from the slavery of sin. He no longer dwells in a tabernacle, accessible only to a few, but asks to dwell in our hearts!
Still we doubt, sometimes in word and sometimes in action. Are you crying out in defeat, even in the face of God’s promise for victory? Do you have a “Canaanite-sized” situation you are facing? Take heart, friend. God is with you and His promises are true.
In closing, we would like to leave you with the following verse. Take it with you and find victory and peace in the name of our Almighty Lord and Savior.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Until next time, be strong and courageous in the Lord!
Your Brother and Sister in Christ, Chris and Jessica Cortez