Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tuesday's with Jesus #143

#143 "In This Thing..."
April 15, 2008
"Yet in this thing ye did not believe the Lord your God." (Deuteronomy 1: 32)
There are times when a chapter of Scripture will hold such treasures of revelation that they are too much to absorb in one sitting. Other times, we come away and we don't think that God's Word has spoken to us at all. Maybe you can relate when you're trying to digest Leviticus and Numbers. But I love those glorious mornings when I'm reading along and a real word just leaps off of the page. Not an entire chapter. Not a whole book. Just one word or one verse that comes alive and hits me right square in the heart. Deuteronomy 1: 32 is one such verse.
Let me set it up for you. Standing at the banks of the Jordan River with the nation of Israel, Moses begins his farewell sermon. They are about to enter into the Promised Land of Canaan and he wants to make sure that they are ready. Moses won't be joining them on the other side and he gives the people instruction on how to walk with God in their new home.
Israel's call to faith and obedience was based on God's mighty acts thus far toward His chosen people. Moses was speaking for God when he took them on a history lesson through the last 40 years. He reminded them of God's constant care for them and also reminded them about the mistakes that they made. One such mistake took place a distant 38 years before.
You remember the story. Twelve spies were sent out to explore the land of Canaan but only two came back with a good report. The other ten saw the enemies instead of the abundance of their new residence. They saw giants instead of grapes and refused to go in and possess the land. In spite of seeing the Red Sea part and grant them passage to the other side, in spite of watching Pharaoh and his chariots drown behind them, in spite of God's provision of manna and quail in the desert, in spite of water to quench their thirst in a parched land, in spite of fire by night and cloud by day to guide them along their journey, in spite of all their eyes had seen, God reminds them of their biggest blunder... "Yet in this thing ye did not believe the Lord your God." They saw it all with their own eyes and still didn't believe that God would carry them the rest of the way. They were paralyzed at the banks of the Jordan River because of unbelief. They even had the nerve to say that God had brought them out of Egypt to deliver them into the hands of the enemy, to destroy them! (v. 27) And that one mistake cost them forty years of wilderness wanderings.
Do you have a "this thing"? Is there one thing in your life today that you just can't seem to believe the Lord your God for? It just seems too big. It just seems too impossible. You've been waiting for so long. And the enemy whispers in your ear that it ain't never gonna happen. 
Often we need to look back at the past to gain strength for the future. There are so many situations back there where you saw God move on your behalf right before your very eyes. But today, you only see the giant thumbing his nose at you in this new situation. Friend, look back. Recall all of the times that God brought you through. Some people like to journal when they get an answer to prayer and that's probably a really good idea. Keep a written record so that in times like these you can see God's faithfulness to you all along the way. In ancient times, the people would lay a stone on a place where God had performed some mighty work on their behalf. Every time they passed by that stone...every time one of their children saw that stone...they would remember God and all of His goodness. We need to set up some memorial stones. Some written records. Some way to never, ever forget. God will never deliver us just to turn around and destroy us! He hasn't brought you this far to abandon you now. 
The giants may seem huge. But your God is bigger. And He has been oh, so faithful to you. You know that He has. So is He different "in this thing" ? No...He is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) Our situations may change, but He is unchangeable and always available. If He brought you out before, He'll bring you out of "this thing" again. Lift your eyes to Heaven and say, out loud..."In This Thing...I believe the Lord my God!" Go ahead, seriously, say it! Say it as many times as you have to until you believe it...until you believe God.
Brother...sister...believe God. He will bless you in all the work of your hands. He will watch over your journey through this vast desert. The Lord is with you and you will lack nothing. (Deut. 2: 7)
Your Promised Land is just up ahead. You can spend the rest of your life gazing at your destiny from the other side, murmuring and complaining, wandering for years around the same mountain, or you can believe God "in this thing" and march into your future victoriously. 
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