As Moses recounts Israel’s history to them before they entered the Promised Land, He reminds them of an incident at Kadesh-barnea. “And I said unto you, Ye are come unto the mountain of the Amorites, which the Lord our God doth give unto us. Behold, the Lord thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged,” (Deuteronomy 1:20-21). Did you catch that? Here was their sign. A clear word from the Lord that NOW was the time to inherit. Here was the shortest path to the Promise Land. The people responded with what appeared to be a reasonable request. “We will send men before us, and they shall search us out the land, and bring us word again by what way we must go up, and into what cities we shall come,” (vs. 22-23). Even Moses thought the idea was a good one. But if we look carefully at the instructions, the Lord didn’t require a contingent to go before Israel to determine the best way to defeat the adversary. THEY had been given a clear word from the Lord. The power to inherit the land was in their hands. With or without directives from the search party, they had a word: Fear not. Possess the land before you. They didn’t see this sign. But, they were given a chance to turn around from the path they’d started down, the path that included listening to the voices of the men they had chosen to spy out the land. “Neither be discouraged,” (vs.21) They would hear the bad report, but they didn’t have to heed it. They could backtrack to the more clearly written sign. They could still be fearless, encouraged, and victorious. Joshua and Caleb and Moses reiterated this promise from the Lord, but the people chose to ignore them. “…thou hast seen how that the Lord thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place. Yet in this thing ye did not believe the Lord your God, Who went in the way before you to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in the fire by night, to shew you by what way ye should go, and in a cloud by day,” (vs 29-33). It cost them the shortcut. The path they chose was 40 years of wandering.
Guess who did inherit. Joshua and Caleb. Men who took God’s Word, believed, and went. The places their feet walked became theirs for the taking.
We have similar situations in our faith walk. Opportunities to go forth and gain territory the Lord has given us. When we face the challenge requiring us to act on God’s Word, we can respond in complete obedience and reap the benefits in full, or we can reason and let compromise weaken our decision-making, peeling the paint and misconstruing our clear directive. We open ourselves to voices of doubt that become stronger than the giants we were intended to face, and we get off-course from God’s best.
Today, we have grace for this moment. Grace to overcome what we presently face. Opportunities to step into the unknown with courage and confidence in God. “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest,” (Joshua 1:9). We can take the shortcut of un-diverted faith, the path that leads to victory.
Tip/Tidbit: Truly hearing the word of the Lord is the answer, for “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” (Romans 10:17). Hear Jesus say, “I’ve proven myself faithful. I’ve shown you my love. I grant you my power and my presence. I am GIVING you your territory. Now, go! Be fearless! Conquer!”