PASTOR'S PEN: Afraid to go forward

After being freed from slavery in Egypt and receiving the Law from God at Mt. Sinai, the people of Israel came to the Promised Land.  Now is when God would fulfill His Word to Abraham when He said, “All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring” (Genesis 13:15).

God had Moses send twelve spies into the land.  They were there for forty days before returning with their report.

“We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey!” (Numbers 13:27)  However, they would add to that report, “But the people who live there are powerful… We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” (Numbers 13:28, 31)

Eventually the people of Israel would grumble against Moses and rebel against the LORD, deciding that they could not go into the Promised Land with such huge obstacles in front of them.

Due to one decision an entire generation of people would miss out on the blessings of God.  They would not partake in the fruit of that land, the lush vegetation and fertile soil.  They would be forced to wander in the desert for forty years.  Not only did they miss out on a great land in which to settle, but they would fail to see the power of God in that land.

Were there mighty armies in the Promised Land? Yes. Would the great walls of fortified cities block their path? Yes. Were there battles that lie ahead? Most definitely. But was any of that too great for Almighty God? NO. He would show just how strong He was — the One true God!

But this people would miss out on seeing the Lord conquer this land. They would lose the opportunity to see His great hand at work in the midst of seemingly impassable blockades. They would miss out the same way we do.

Thinking of Israel causes me to reflect on my own life. How many blessings from God have I missed because I was afraid to take a step of faith? How often have I not seen the Mighty Hand of God at work because the roadway looked too rough to travel? I believe that if I knew I would be saddened beyond compare.

God asked Israel to do this difficult thing, yet they were too afraid because of people, walls and fear. Is God asking you to do something that you are too afraid to do? Is there some task that seems too great or too hard? You are tempted to avoid it, either turn and run or go around it; but God is asking you to go through it. Yet you are still afraid.

Let me encourage you with the words of Joshua, “… do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid… The LORD is with us…” (Numbers 14:9)

If you know Christ, then you have with you the same God who created the world, conquered the Egyptians and brought down the walls of Jericho! Don’t be afraid to follow Him on whatever task He has ahead for you — no matter how great or scary it may seem. There will be fortified walls, insurmountable blockades and hosts of naysayers but remember this, “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid… The LORD is with me; He is my helper.” (Psalm 118:6-7)

What is keeping you from following the Lord?