Maybe you can think of a dozen reasons that fear shouldn’t hang out at your house, but I can tell you one great, big, huge, hairy reason it can’t stay at my house. Before I share this 1 reason you can’t let fear stay, let me tell you how I learned that lesson.
I was writing God’s Laws for Kids, so I was studying Exodus and Numbers 13. I love the Old Testament stories especially anything about Moses. Moses is one of my heroes! My story begins at a crucial moment in Israel’s history.
It was time to take possession of the promise.
It was a promise that God made to Abraham. Some folks may have felt that the promise was old and dusty, like Joseph’s bones…after all it had been passed down and around for well over 400 years. But, Moses showed up one day, with his brother…sent by God to meet Moses, as he made his way toward Egypt. They had both heard from God. It was time-time for deliverance and freedom-and God was going to use them to lead His people out of Egypt.
Not just out, but into the wonderful land God had promised Abraham. (Genesis 15:4-20)
God described His Promise
to Moses when he bowed before Him at the burning bush.
8So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey—the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live. Exodus 3:8 NIV
- With nourishing milk and sweet honey.
They were out, and now it was time to go in…
They were on the precipice… so close…so close.
It was God’s idea to send spies into the land (Exodus 13:1).
Moses selected leaders. Twelve men were chosen; one from each tribe to check out Canaan and bring back their report.
40 days is a long time to wait, unless you’ve already waited 400+ years!
I can only imagine how hard it was to wait for the spies to get back.
If I had lived back then, I can tell you for sure, everyday I would have stopped and looked. Everyday I would have shaded my eyes from the glaring sun and strained to see if I could spot a cloud of dust that announced their arrival.
Finally, FINALLY, they arrived.
Everyone gathered around, pushing and shoving. They spotted the two guys with the end of a staff resting on their shoulders and a huge grape cluster swinging from the middle. The others were pulling figs and pomegranates out of their sacks. Wow! It was just like God said; a land flowing with wonderful things.
Don’t you know they had to quiet that crowd down?
27They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. 28But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. Numbers 13:27,28
The word Anakites makes me wanna go fly kites!
But, they knew Anakites were giants!
for them-but, not for God!
Have you ever noticed
that every promise God gives us always seems to have a giant that must be defeated or a wall that must be hurdled before we can receive the promise… that’s so we can partner with God to experience victory!
Ten spies said, “We are grasshoppers compared to these guys.”
What a powerful word picture. Giants vs grasshoppers.
They could read the headlines already! Grasshoppers Squashed Under Giant’s Big Sandal.
Fear gripped their hearts!
Wringing their hands, they cried hot angry tears of defeat! They hadn’t done anything yet, but already they were defeated.
All my life I thought these folks were crazy!
That is until I wrote “God’s Laws for Kidz”. I saw this story through the eyes of a someone in the crowd and I saw the disappointment and fear on their face.
I saw the people for the first time, just like me, afraid.
While I’ve never faced anything like the situation they were facing, I’ve had lifelong dreams dashed before my eyes. I’ve been afraid of what the future held. I’ve faced strong giants and pressed my face against some walls to tall to look over.
These folks, the ordinary people just like me in the crowd, were afraid.
But I held them to a higher standard. They had just walked through the Red Sea on dry ground. They had just heard the voice of God and saw the fire and smoke on the mountain. How could they forget the promise God had given them? How could they fail to trust God?
But hold everything!
I…we live under a better covenant.
I’ve had some promises from God. I’ve had dreams of touching people’s lives with the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are some things that I feel God has told me to do, but when I faced my giant, I was afraid.
There have been times that I have actually prayed to God. (I called it prayer, but maybe I should call it whine.) OK! So I will correct that…I whined to God, “Oh God, I want to do such and such, but I’m afraid.
I’m not smart enough?
I’m not good enough?
The people don’t like me?
Have you ever done that?
That’s what the children of Israel were doing that day.
I thought (without realizing it) that God would be really impressed with my wonderful attitude! I thought God would respond something like, “You poor little darling! Oh, that’s just awful. That’s all right, calm down. Shhh! You’re afraid, so just sit down. That’s OK. You’re afraid to obey me, that’s all right. I’ll let you have the promise any way.”
But, when I wasn’t receiving the promise, I thought God was failing me. I was working hard. I was doing everything I could do. Well, except believing Him and then there’s that part about trusting Him. I wasn’t doing that part at all because I was trusting in my efforts.
I was so discouraged and told Wayne, “I’m doing my part. From sun up to sun down, I work, literally, and God isn’t doing a single thing to help me.”
But, when I wrote this story for my curriculum, I saw myself in that crowd. I was one of them, wringing my hands and complaining, “Oh God, I want to go into the promised-land, but I’m afraid!” And the interpretation of that is, “I want the promise. But, I’m afraid, so I’m NOT going to obey you.”
Did God ignore their disobedience because it was wrapped in fear? Tweet this! No! He didn’t.
I was shocked…
God wasn’t going to let me get by with wrapping my fear in the warm, blanket of disobedience!!! Not gonna happen!
They didn’t receive the promise because they didn’t obey!
Obedience is critical, because faith without works is dead. When we trust God, we obey God.
Fear stopped them and left them to die in the wilderness.
Is that too graphic? It’s a horrible thought.
Fear is still fear. It will stop you too, if you let it!
There was another man in that group of spies.
His name was Caleb, from the tribe of Judah, which means praise. Caleb means whole hearted, or some say attack dog (which means the same thing to me.) He saw the same giants, but he had a different spirit…a different attitude. God’s promise was bigger in him than the giants around him.
I gotta repeat that one. God’s promise was bigger in him than the giants around him.
He encouraged the people, “We can do it!”
They didn’t believe it.
They died in the wilderness.
But, Caleb and Joshua believed and they received the promise.
What about you?
Does God want you to receive the promise?
Yes, a thousand times yes.
But in fairness to you I must warn you. Fear will try to stop you. It can’t unless you let it. You have a choice; to choose faith or fear. You can choose to obey or disobey. Choose faith…choose life.
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