Despite how our circumstances may have unfolded in the past several days, be encouraged that God has prepared us for this season. We’re reminded in Romans 1:17, “The person who finds life will find it through trusting God.” There’s a big word in there … “trusting”.
Today, I want to talk about people in the Bible who came up against some pretty difficult circumstances. I know that you’ve been itching to read the book of Numbers, ha! This book can easily be skipped and go unread for a long time if we aren’t intentional. But in between all the genealogies, there’s some powerful wisdom. That’s why I make it a point to read through the Bible every year, there's wisdom in so many surprising places. Let’s turn to Numbers, chapters 13 and 14.
To give you some background, let’s recall what happened leading up to this point. Moses had led the children of Israel out of Egypt while displaying His power by showing them miracle after miracle. God promised His people a place they can call home, the promise land. Moses called twelve leaders (one from each of the twelve tribes of Israel) to go ahead, check out the promise land, and bring back a report of what it’s like. After forty days and forty nights the leaders returned with a mixed report.
Two of leaders said that the land was great, it is exactly what God promised and that they should proceed. Ten of the leaders however, said that there were giants in the land and that Israel’s people would surely die if they tried to go into the promise land.
Now, the two who gave a positive report were Joshua and Caleb. They trusted God. Those who had a negative report were; Shammua (not the whale), Igal, Palti, Gaddiel, Shaphat (not Snapchat), Gaddi, Ammiel, Sethur, Nahbi, and Geuel. I tell you their names because to me, it’s interesting that I don’t know anyone by the name of any of those who had a negative report. That’s because no one remembers the neigh sayers! No one remembers the critics, worry warts or debbie downers. However, people do remember those who move forward in faith, trusting God regardless of the circumstances and display a positive attitude in the midst of challenges!
This Coronavirus has inconvenienced everybody! People are losing jobs, money, and their way of life. It is truly testing people's trust and patience. You’ve seen the grocery stores lately. People are complaining and even getting physical as they jockey for position to get that last case of toilet paper. I want to encourage you to be a Joshua or a Caleb by focusing on the positive and trusting God. Do a self analysis, when you're faced with challenging situations, are you patient in these situations? When a crisis like the Coronavirus hits, is your default to panic and hoard supplies and be fearful of what's going to happen as you lose your trust in God? It’s easy to be godly when everything is going great. It's easy to act like a Christian when everything is easy. But do we have faith when we don't have control, when we don't know when our lives will return to "normal" whatever that will look like in the future. The big question we have to answer is, will we do what God says, even though there are "giants" in front of us. People in your Oikos (relational network) will wonder about your faith during this time. Does faith work? They’re watching. In the uncertainties and viruses of life, let me encourage you to choose to be a Joshua or a Caleb and trust God.
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