To get to this point in their journey, the Israelites had spent 40 years wandering around in the desert.
The direct route to Canaan would have only taken about 35-40 days, but the Israelites let the immediate challenges around them take precedence, grumbling, complaining, losing sight of the promised goal.
“Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Exodus 16:3
“…Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” Exodus 17:3
Even after God’s faithfulness was shown in providing everything the Israelites needed, the faith of some of them still wavered when the end of their journey was in sight.
“Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan and said to them, “Go up into the Negeb and go up into the hill country, and see what the land is, and whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many, and whether the land that they dwell in is good or bad, and whether the cities that they dwell in are camps or strongholds, and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether there are trees in it or not. Be of good courage and bring some of the fruit of the land…” Numbers 13:17-20
The spies’ report came in:
Caleb reported at once. “…Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.” So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height.” Numbers 13:30-32
We know the end of this epic journey. The Israelites did cross the Jordan River and go into Canaan.
Do you have a Canaan that you will be facing in 2014? God has told you to go forth and occupy, but afraid of the journey and what you will have to face when you get there?
“… lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” Hebrew 12:12-14
“…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
Lord during this new year help us to remember who you are, a mighty God, a loving God, and a forgiving God who has our best interests at heart. Help us to listen when you speak, act when you direct us. Help us not to have to wander around in any deserts this year.