24Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word:
25But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the LORD.
26Therefore he lifted up his hand against them, to overthrow them in the wilderness:
27To overthrow their seed also among the nations, and to scatter them in the lands.
In perhaps its darkest hour yet, the unthinkable happened. The nation of Israel camped on the outskirts of the promised land, ready to move into the land God had provided for them. Twelve men were sent to spy out the land--one from each tribe. After 40 days they came back with their report.
32And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, 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 a great stature.
33And 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 13:32-33, King James Version)
Two men, Joshua and Caleb, encouraged the people to go into the land, for God would protect them and give them victory over the inhabitants of the land. And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.
Yet, ten of the spies gave an evil report causing the children of Israel to murmur against Moses and Aaron.
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!
Where was their faith? God had performed miracle after miracle on their behalf, traveling among them visibly in a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, and yet they could not trust Him.
Thus God pronounced His judgment upon them. All those, from 20 years old and upward when they left Egypt would not see the promised land, but would die in the wilderness. The nation would wander in the wilderness for 40 years, one year for each day the spies spent spying the promised land. At the end of the 40 years only those who had been under 20 when they left Egypt, along with Joshua and Caleb would enter the promised land.
Each of us must ask ourselves, where is our faith? Do we truly trust in the God we proclaim to love? When we are standing on the brink of our own "promised land" will we lack the faith to proceed, or will we stand tall, in the strength and power of the Lord and push forward?
As we look about us to a world that is trying to quickly distance itself from God, what will we do? When we are persecuted for our faith, what then? Pray today that God would grant you faith--faith that you would not forget God, your First Love.
Truly we live in an evil time, but there is much work for us to do. Let us, then, be found faithful, living our lives to the honor and glory of God. Let us be the salt and light that we are called to be, as we proclaim the good news of Christ our Lord to a world that is lost and dying!
God Bless You,