Today’s Reading: Numbers 14-15
Today’s Reflection: Numbers 14:21-24
21) But truly, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord, 22) none of the men who have seen my glory and my signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have put me to the test these ten times and have not obeyed my voice, 23) shall see the land that I swore to give to their fathers. And none of those who despised me shall see it. 24) But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it.
After bringing the children of Israel to the Promised Land, the fear of its occupants caused them to reject God’s leading. Yes the land was occupied, but God promised to overcome the peoples of Canaan and to give it to Israel. Instead they wished for death, complained about how God has chosen to provide for them, and considered returning to slavery in Egypt (Numbers 14:1-4), all this despite having seen God’s miraculous plagues in Egypt, having been freed from the most powerful nation on the earth, witnessing God’s victory over the armies of Egypt at the Red Sea, His miraculous provision of food, and the very presence of God in the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night.
God was ready to give them the Promised Land and they had every reason to trust in His promise. But the children of Israel chose anything but God’s plan.
They got exactly what they asked for.
As a result of their lack of faith God denied them entry into the Promised Land, giving them instead a death sentence in the wilderness. The old faithless generation of Israel would die out tragically wandering in a wasteland just days away from the land of milk and honey that could have been theirs. The land that God wanted to give them. The land that God had prepared just for them.
There are people who don’t believe God will judge people and deny them entry into heaven. They ask, how could a loving God sentence people to eternal death? The simple answer is that because God loves us, He gives us freedom to choose to spend eternity with Him, or apart from Him. These skeptics then ask, who would be foolish enough to choose to spend eternity apart from God?
Who would be foolish enough to choose to wander through the wilderness rather than trust God to lead them into the Promised Land?
And before we point fingers at Israel’s example, we must recognize that their foolishness is a warning and reminder for us today. The truth is many of us struggle to trust God’s leading in much smaller matters than this. How many of us would have made the same choice as Israel under those circumstances? More than we would like to admit.
The example of Israel and the Promised Land should remind us that the choice to follow God is completely based on our faith in God. For the person lacking faith, choosing to follow God makes no sense. Trusting in His word over what our senses, our thoughts, and our feelings tell us makes no sense. But for the man or woman of faith there is no other option than following God. This was the case with Caleb and Joshua who completely trusted God, were completely ready to follow God and ultimately would become the only two people of their generation to enter the Promised Land (Numbers 14:30).
God has prepared a place for you. If it were not so He would have told you. Because He has prepared a place for you He is coming back for you so you can be where He is (John 14:2-3). Are you preparing to be ready to go with Him when He comes? Or are you choosing Hell instead?
Choose This: Complete faith in God and following His leading right into His eternal kingdom.
Not That: Fear and doubt that causes us to trust our own reasoning over God’s Word, and ultimately leads us to destruction.