Wednesday, May 06, 2015
THE BRINK OF BLESSING
If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’ (Numbers 14:8)
Are we standing on the brink of blessing? Ancient Israel did. God brought them out of bondage in order to bring them into blessing. Standing on the banks of the Jordan, they stood on the brink of blessing.
There was a problem, however--in fact, a big one! There were large, fortified cities and giant, fierce enemies there. This presented DIFFICULTY. "So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night." (Num.14:1) This was the reaction to the report of the reconnaissance team of twelve that had been sent into Canaan. Ten of the twelve--Caleb and Joshua being the notable exceptions--brought back an evil report. The people responded in fear rather than faith. They focused on problems and not possibilities. Where Caleb and Joshua saw the huge fruit, the ten saw the heavy fortifications. Ten saw the giants, while two looked to God. What difficulty is too great for Deity? Any church that purposes to be all God wants them to be in their community--glorifying God, reaching sinners, growing saints, and impacting the culture will face difficulty. Satan will see to it. God permits it as a test. Will we respond to the challenges with faith or fear?
There comes the moment of DECISION. "So they said to one another, 'Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.' ” (Num.14:4) God brings us to the point of decision. You can't straddle the fence. We can choose to wander by going backward in fear. You can't stand still spiritually. If you aren't moving forward, you are slipping backward. We speak of churches on a plateau--what that means is they are out of gas, and coasting on the momentum they had, but there is no power, and soon they will head downhill, faster and faster, until they crash. Has God brought us to the brink of blessing? We can choose the wonder by going forward in faith. We will never see the miracle until we must have one. We can never attain the blessing until we step out in faith.
Sadly, Israel choose to reject the promises and rebel against God. This brought DISCIPLINE. "I the LORD have spoken this. I will surely do so to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.” (Num.14:35) We witness God's patience. This was not the first time they had rebelled. It became a pattern. God displayed His patience over and over. Yet, there comes a point of no return--a moment when God draws a line in the sand that we dare not cross. Israel presumed upon God's long-suffering once too often. Then follows the punishment. The door of opportunity slams shut. The offer of blessing is withdrawn. Churches die in the wilderness! They could have known blessing, but refused to trust and obey God! Then God writes, "Ichabod," over the door--the glory is departed! What could have been a movement, became a monument, and eventually a mausoleum.
Backward in fear; forward in faith--what is your choice today?