Problems and Promises

Happy Thursday!

My spirit is just bursting with faith as I write this. Let’s jump on in!
In the oft-overlooked book of Numbers, we find in chapter 13 that Moses and the Israelites are still “wandering” in the desert after their miraculous escape from the oppression of Egypt, and God expressly declares that He is giving them a land to call their own.
I have found that home is something so profound and beautiful; to have suffered across scorching sands for many nights and suddenly realize that a destination is closer than you think – what a hopeful feeling! And God did not merely present an idea.. He presented a statement of fact: “Send out men to explore the land of Canaan, the land I am giving to the Israelites” (v 2, emphasis mine).
With this instruction from the Lord, Moses arranged 12 scouts to investigate this land of promise, who explored Canaan for 40 days. Upon the men’s return, they excitedly relayed that “it is indeed a bountiful country – a land flowing with milk and honey” (verse 27). However, ten of the twelve – yes, an overwhelming majority – quickly lost sight of the promise and focused instead on the problem.
“But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there… We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are” (vv 28, 31)!
Valid. Well, sort of. It’s just that when God is involved, we must always take into consideration that He is flat out stronger, bigger, greater, and higher than, well, any other factor.
At any rate, only two of the spies, the famous duo Caleb and Joshua, believed what God had said.

The story continues on through a few chapters and is actually quite heartbreaking. The Israelites had a number of reactions, some of which included complaints to return to Egypt (what?!) and even stoning – yes, stoning – Caleb and Joshua for their faith (again, what?!). God, in His heartbreak and anger that His chosen people would not trust Him, threatened to destroy the faithless with a plague and ultimately killed the 10 faithless scouts.

And because of this incident, God vowed that not a single member of the Israelite nomads would ever enter Canaan, this promised land.

Wow.

There are many applications to be taken from this incredible piece of history, many of which are sobering… but I’ll let the Holy Spirit prompt in you what He will through this blog. I do want to propose a question, though.

When God speaks to you and makes a promise over your life, do you continuously look at Him with unabbreviated trust and hope, or do you focus on the problems of your present reality?

Listen, friend.. when God speaks, He has every intention of fulfilling what He has said. If He has said He will take care of you (Psalm 55:22), He will. If He has said that He will provide for you in every situation right on time (Philippians 4:19), He will. When He speaks specific promises over you and your situation, you can be guaranteed that He will deliver. That’s who our God is!

If you find that you get distracted easily by problems instead of holding to the promises, it sounds like you may have forgotten who God is. And I say that gently and with much, much grace, because it can be easy to do. So why not focus on this:

  • God will finish the work He started in you! (Philippians 1:6)
  • God is working every minute detail out for your benefit! (Romans 8:28)
  • God goes ahead of us to prepare the way! (Deuteronomy 31:6)
  • God is fighting the battle on your behalf! (Exodus 14:14)
  • God will never fail us or abandon us! (Hebrews 13:5)
  • God’s plan is that you will prosper! (Jeremiah 29:11)
  • God is – right now – working to cause all enemies and situations to bow before Him! (Psalm 27:2-3)
Let these promises – and others that you may be holding onto – stir up the faith in your soul! I cannot stress enough: God is good, and He does good! If you walk into a situation with a cynical attitude or doubting that our Father will not protect and bless you, you are setting yourself up for a lose-lose outcome. Instead, walk into every situation fully donned with the armor of God, a resolved trust in the unwavering goodness of our God, and a song in your heart – and watch mountains move!
What other people may identify as a problem, we as believers can consider potential for God to restore, deliver, and bless. Hold onto the promises that God has given us! He has never let us go, and He never, ever will.
All my heart,
Josh

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