6 And Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, two of the spies, tore their clothes in sorrow 7 and said to the people, “The land we explored is an excellent land. 8 If the LORD is pleased with us, he will take us there and give us that rich and fertile land. 9 Do not rebel against the LORD and don’t be afraid of the people who live there. We will conquer them easily. The LORD is with us and has defeated the gods who protected them; so don’t be afraid.” 10 The whole community was threatening to stone them to death, but suddenly the people saw the dazzling light of the LORD’S presence appear over the Tent. Numbers 14:6-10 (TEV)
“To begin is for everyone, to persevere is for saints. May your perseverance not be a blind consequence of the first impulse, the effect of inertia; may it be a reflective perseverance.” (1)
It was once said that “life is suffering”. Another wise man, wrote that all is vanity, it is all meaningless. While both were significantly wiser than I, I know the feeling after a week among church leaders in my denomination. It may only be my thinking, but we spent several million dollars on a convention that did nothing, but remanded more things to study, and ignored the issues we all wanted to work through. Even if we would have come to the table with extremely divergent ideas.
Add to that 12 hours days, some people I dearly care for going through tremendous trauma, some really meaningless and almost incomprehensible theology reading for a class I am taking and a long flight and time change, and as I sit to write my blog and then my sermon,
It is far too easy to be like Israel, approaching the promise land and wondering – why go on? Why keep pushing through this “stuff” (insert any term relating to digestive system end product) and fighting the system? Why not just go back to places like Eqypt, as the Israelites wanted to, where at least the pain and suffering where known and you could brace yourself for them? Why push through to a land of promise that we will have to fight to enter? Even as we realize the threat isn’t external, but internal?
Why go on?
As I read the account this morning from scripture, I am reminded why I preach, and the message that I will share tomorrow, and indeed the entire service is gear to a fact that is far too often overlooked.
The LORD is with us and has defeated the gods who protected them; so don’t be afraid.”
All our false gods, all our struggles, all the sin that would so easily ensnare us has already been defeated. God has won the battle, He has overcome. His promises are to that extent, if we can remember to hear them.
THe people there, ready to take out their angst on others, ready to through it in and abandon their mission, give up on the course God sent for them needed to remember this simple thing – “The Lord is with us!” That changes everything.
The look to the place where God put His name, where He promised He would be for them… and He was there. His promises, His presence, His glory shown as He was where He promised He would be, in the midst of His people. As He has been, ever since.
That is why gathering together, as the Body of Christ is so critical. We need our Calebs, our Joshuas, those who lead us to remind us of this… to drag our eyes to look to Him, not to the past where we were comfortable, but even to embrace the journey and battle we have until we reach the “promised land”, that place where we will finally see Him face to face, the place were others will find themselves because Jesus was there for them, even as we are there for them. The strength to persevere is indeed there for saints… because He is with us, and He is our perseverance.
Go with God this day… and know that He is the reason you have hope!
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2010-11-02). The Way (Kindle Locations 2286-2288). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
- What’s in you? (justifiedandsinner.com)
Late Discussion/Devotional Thought of the Day…..
It was faith that made Abraham offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice when God put Abraham to the test. Abraham was the one to whom God had made the promise, yet he was ready to offer his only son as a sacrifice. 18 God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that you will have the descendants I promised.” 19 Abraham reckoned that God was able to raise Isaac from death—and, so to speak, Abraham did receive Isaac back from death. 20 It was faith that made Isaac promise blessings for the future to Jacob and Esau. 21 It was faith that made Jacob bless each of the sons of Joseph just before he died. He leaned on the top of his walking stick and worshiped God. 22 It was faith that made Joseph, when he was about to die, speak of the departure of the Israelites from Egypt, and leave instructions about what should be done with his body. Hebrews 11:17-22 (TEV)
Our Bible Study arrived at this passage this morning, as we’ve been journeying through the Book of Hebrews…a passage well known to my older saints.
It was noted during our study, how the faith discussed in Abraham, Issac, Jacob and Joseph all have to deal with death, and not just heaven, but the future after we have gone.
Of the things Abe could be noted for, it was for the future that he trusted God. That God would fulfill His promises for the descendants that would come through Issac – even though Abraham was on his way to kill the very son who was to be the one through whom the promise was made. Issac’s sacrifice would have put an end to that promise… except that Abraham knew God could raise someone from the dead.
Of all the things Issac could be noted for, well actually we don’t know all that much about him… but Hebrews notes the faith demonstrated in not just blessing the son who would inherit, but blessing the son who turned his back on the inheritance…. and his family. Until Esau realizes how much he’s given up…and so, led by God, and knowing God’s heart for all the world… Issac blesses his prodigal son…and Esau’s descendants are saved in Christ’s death on the cross, for they are among the nations whom will be blessed.
Jacob as well, the one who wrestled with God (setting an interesting precedent for his own descendants..) is not know for that – but again for blessing his grandchildren, and worshiping God. He too passes on the promise…
Joseph too – it’s not the trust in God that would see him through kidnapping, or the jail time, or the global famine…..
The prayer is for the sustenance of the people – that they would, as well, be sustained during the promised time of exile, through to the time of the promise land – generations to come..,,,,
Each trusted in God – for a promise that includes us, those who trusted in God for the future, a future that they knew God would fulfill.
Because they knew God, because they walked with Him, because they knew His love.
Can we see our faith in God, yes for heaven, but for the generations that will follow, trusting God. …. can we know the God who blesses us, will bless them….
Lord have mercy on us… and on those that follow…