Thursday, April 15, 2010

Overcoming Obstacles

"And Caleb stilled the people before Moses and said, Let us go up at once, and posses it [the Promised Land]; for we are well able to overcome it."  ~Numbers 13:30

"But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we...the land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of great stature.  And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight."  ~Numbers 13:13-33

"And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes: and they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceedingly good land.  If the LORD delight in us, then He will bring us into the land, and give it us, a land which floweth with milk and honey.  Only rebel not against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defense is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not."  ~Numbers 14:6-9

Joshua and Caleb are two of my favorite Bible characters, "Heroes of the Faith."  They displayed faith in God, courage, strength, fortitude, and a willingness to do whatever the Lord said.  I'm sure they had the look of brave soldiers.  I can see them now, swords in hand, deep voices shouting for the children of Israel to follow them into the Promised Land, for the Lord was with them!  Joshua and Caleb were mighty men, valiant men, men of strength and honor.  No man in the whole Israelite camp was like unto them.

Joshua and Caleb were men after God's own heart.  Their hearts were willing to serve, to love, to follow their Lord to the ends of the earth if need be.  God needed their type of men.  If all the men in the Israelite camp had been like Joshua and Caleb, there wouldn't have been any groaners or complainers, and the children of Israel could have entered the Promised Land the first time.  Unfortunately for them, things didn't turn out so well...

"And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!"

Okay, they wanted to die in the wilderness?  God would grant their request.

"Your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against Me, doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun."  ~Numbers 14:29,30

All the Israelites of that generation, aged twenty years and older, would die in the forty-year-wandering-in-the-wilderness period.   Their children would inherit the land.  But, there were two who would survive...

Joshua and Caleb had been faithful.  They believed God would be with them and would help them overcome every obstacle; therefore God would give them their reward.  He would allow them to enter the Promised Land, the only survivors of that generation.

But the other ten spies who brought back an evil report, God punished them for their unbelief and disobedience.

"Even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the LORD."  ~Numbers 14:37

How does this story apply to us today?  Very good question.  I'm glad you asked. (now you may wish you didn't.)

I'm going to be honest and blunt.  America has become as terrible and wicked as uncivilized and ungodly lands.  True, we may still have more freedom than other countries, yes, and more opportunities, but how long do you think it will all last?  We're already a socialized nation.  We've already turned away from God.  We see it everyday: murder, idolatry, lust, stealing, infidelity, greed, dishonesty, covetousness, adultery, fornication, strife, heresies, drunkenness, uncleanness, etc.  If we were still blessed by God, do you think we would see these things everyday?  They sound more like curses to me.  I'm afraid God's hand is slowly but truly leaving us.  What then can we do?  

Are we Christians supposed to stay hidden in the shadows where no one can see us, waiting desperately until we die so we can escape the trouble of this life? Or maybe come out of the shadows and join in the world's wicked revelings because "there isn't anything we can do!"?   Most emphatically no.

Joshua and Caleb stayed true to the Lord, even when everyone else forsook Him.  They stood up proudly.  Why, even their very lives were threatened!

"But all the congregation bade stone them [Joshua and Caleb] with stones."  ~Numbers 14:10a

However, even in the midst of danger, strife, and unbelief, they remained faithful, trusting that God would help them overcome every obstacle.  Will we do the same?  Will we rise up as proud servants of the Most High, or will we cower in darkness, with our heads buried in the sand?

Remember, the ten spies were punished with death for their unbelief.  The unbelieving children of Israel were punished as well.  They wouldn't live to see the fulfillment of God's promises.

If we continue in sin today, think of how much more our children will have to endure.  Will we leave behind a legacy of sin, or of trust in God?  Many things depend upon us right now.

Think of the President of the United States.  The choices and decisions he makes will affect the whole country, good or bad.  The same abides with our congressmen, senators, representatives, governors, and mayors.  Where are they leading us?

But, think on this for a moment: the men we have in leadership today were placed there by "we the people."   "We" voted.   "We" place men in office.   "We" are responsible.  The men in office are supposed to be noble, "able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness." (Exodus 18:21a)  Do we place such a caliber of men there in that position?   Taking a look at our congressmen today, my answer would be no.

Do we no longer love our country?  Where is our patriotic zeal and courage?  Where is our religious zeal?  Do we no longer trust God?

If we would dare to be a Joshua, if we would dare to be a Caleb, astonishing things would transpire.  Perhaps, just perhaps, God might use us, and start a revival in this land.

I weep for my country,
which has fallen so low; 
I weep tears of sorrow,
these tears I now show.

O God where are You?
is my desperate cry;
Why have You forsaken us?
Please come to us nigh!

This country is falling,
oh how we need Your hand!
We the people are crumbling,
soon we'll be sand.

Unless we have Your help,
unless we see Your face;
we'll be lost forever,
 and we'll have lost the race.

Rise up America!
Rise up people strong!
For God will come again,
if we'll admit we're wrong.

Peace will come again someday,
but one thing we must do:
clasp our hands in humbleness,
turn to Him and pray.


Sonya said...

★ Awesome post, Rachel!!

Rachel said...

Thank you so much, dear Mama! I love your support!