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)