Deuteronomy 1:21, NIV
“See, the LORD your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, told you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
After suffering immensely during their captivity in Egypt, the Israelites were liberated by God in the most astounding way. There was the miraculous parting of the Red Sea, which allowed the Israelites to pass on dry land, but flooded back and drowned the pursuing Egyptian army. In the wilderness He provided manna for them to eat, and water from a rock for them to drink. He gave them victory over their enemies, the Amalekites, and met with them at Mt Sinai, renewing His Covenant with them. God had not forgotten His people and He was leading them to the Promised Land, just as He had committed to do.
As they came up towards the Promised Land, Moses sent twelve spies out to explore and report back. They found that the land was fruitful and abundant – just as the Lord had promised – but it was already inhabited by various people groups. The spies responded to what they saw in different ways.
Caleb trusted that God would be faithful to His promise in giving over this land and declared to Moses and all of the people “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” (Numbers 13:30-31). However, the rest shrunk back in fear and pronounced “We can’t attack these people; they are stronger than we are”. Two men (Joshua and Caleb) believed in God’s promise and spoke out their faith accordingly. Ten men didn’t believe God’s promise and thus declared themselves unable.
By the power of their own words every one of these men sealed their own fates, for life and death are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). And we read that Jesus said, ‘By your words you will be acquitted and by your words you will be condemned’ (Matthew 12:37).
The men who said ‘we are not able’ weren’t able, and died, falling short of the promise, and not entering into the promised rest. Instead of focussing on God, His promise and His power, they focussed on themselves and were negative. They looked at the giants and the walled cities and said “we are not able”.
The men who said ‘we are able’ were able, and lived to enter into the Promised Land and into the rest of God. They identified with the promise of God and fixed their eyes on God and His promise, rather than on their circumstances and the presenting obstacles.
God still gives a promise of entering into His rest. ‘Therefore, since the promise of entering His rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed’ (Hebrews 4:1-2). So when you face challenges and obstacles in life, do you really choose to stand on His promises and believe in His almighty power? Or do you look at the challenging circumstances and say ‘I’m not able’.
When we face a mountain that looks impossible, let’s be reminded to look back on all the miracles that have happened thus far. Remember the faithfulness of God – how He’s been faithful to His people, and how He’s been faithful to you personally – and choose to place your faith and trust in Him. He is faithful. He is able. In Him we are more than conquerors, today.
Prayer: dear heavenly Father, thank You that You are a promise keeping God, and that the promise of entering into Your rest still stands for me today. Please forgive me where I’ve doubted You and not believed. Today I declare that I believe in You and I believe in Your promises. Please continue to lead me into the plans and purposes that You have for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.