Thus they told him, and said, "We went in to the (promised) land where you sent us; and it certainly does flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.
Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large..." (Numbers 13:27,28).
Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, "We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it."
But the men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us." (Numbers 13:30,31)
"...As I live, says the Lord,...your corpses shall fall in this wilderness...from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against Me...(Numbers 14:28,29).
"and your sons shall be shepherds for forty years in the wilderness, and they shall suffer for your unfaithfulness, until your corpses lie in the wilderness.
"According to the number of days which you spied out the land, forty days, for every day you shall bear your guilt a year, even forty years, and you shall know My opposition." (Numbers 14: 33,34)
Most Christians are familiar with the deliverance of Israel out of bondage in Egypt, and their later refusal to cross the Jordan to enter the Promised Land because of their lack of faith. We see the great toll they had to pay because of their disobedience.
We shake our heads at them and wonder how they could not trust God after their miraculous deliverance from Egypt. It is incredible that they chose to stay in the barren wilderness because of their fear of man.
We see their error clearly, yet we fail to see that we commit the identical error. The body of Christ today is filled with Wilderness Christians, those of us who choose to remain in barren existence, rather than completely trust God with our lives.
Wives refuse to trust God with their husbands; husbands refuse to trust God with their wives. They manipulate and maneuver their spouses with good intentions, not realizing that their knowledge of good gets in the way of God. The result is barren relationships, the sentence for all such Wilderness Christians.
Parents refuse to turn loose of their children (some of whom are even married), because they do not trust God. They know what is best for their children (because they have the knowledge of good), and they wonder why God doesn't help them put their children's lives in proper order. The result is broken relationships, the sentence for all such Wilderness Christians.
"Your children, however, whom you said would become a prey---I will bring them in (after you have died and no longer have your hands on them), and they shall know the land which you have rejected." (Numbers 14:31)
God is saying, "In spite of your interference, I will bring them in, after you are out of the way." Does that seem harsh? It is wilderness experience brought about by lack of faith.
"For as many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are yes!" (2 Corinthians 1:20a) The promises of God are real. They are true and they are ours, so long as we say, "Amen!"
Unfortunately, our "Amens" are qualified. We are like the Israelites, we admit the promises are real, and all the blessings are in the kingdom of God, but we say, "Nevertheless, we are not able to relinquish all to God. The flesh is too strong; therefore, it is a losing battle."
There is no difference between the Promised Land in the days of the Israelites, and the Promises of God for today's Christians.
Joshua and Caleb had the answer. "If the Lord is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land, and give it to us---a land which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord..." (Numbers 14:8,9a)
How do we know if the Lord is pleased with us? The answer is simple. We know that "obedience is better than sacrifice," and "without faith it is impossible to please God." God has told us to trust His promises. Are we trusting? He has told us to believe His word. Do we really believe?
James tells us that if we truly believe, we step out in obedience and our works prove our faith. The greatest test is in our own backyard, with members of our immediate families. We treat our relations as if we have some everlasting claim upon their lives, but we do not.
When a son gets married, the mother should turn him loose. When a daughter gets married, the father should trust God with her life. Admittedly, no daughter-in-law or son-in-law is good enough, but God works all things together for good, if the parents take their hands off and trust Him.
It is the Lord's pleasure to give us His promises, when we cross the Jordan and submit to His kingship. Jesus came that we might have life more abundantly (John 10:10), That is an impossibility if we rebelliously refuse to leave the wilderness. Unfortunately, our children "suffer for our unfaithfulness, until our corpses lie in the wilderness."
There are thousands of examples of how we distrust God and sentence ourselves to a lifetime of Wilderness Christianity. Did Christ die in vain? Are we so afraid, so competitive, so controlling in our relationships with other human beings that we refuse to trust God?
There is indeed a Promised Land for us in the here and now. It is utterly senseless for us to remain in the wilderness for the rest of our lives because of rebellion against God!
Trust is a measuring rod for a disciple.
Jesus is King!
P.S. What are you doing of eternal value?
Question for today: Do I really trust God?