Hope Discovery of the Day:
In the tunnels of life, we see one way out, but there are actually two: One path seeks God and the other seeks our own way.
Scripture of the Day:
Numbers 13:2, 17-20
13:2a “Send out men to investigate the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. 17 When Moses sent them to investigate the land of Canaan, he told them, “Go up through the Negev, and then go up into the hill country 18 and see what the land is like, and whether the people who live in it are strong or weak, few or many, 19 and whether the land they live in is good or bad, and whether the cities they inhabit are like camps or fortified cities, 20 and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether or not there are forests in it. And be brave, and bring back some of the fruit of the land.” Now it was the time of year for the first ripe grapes.”
It is not until we are willing to examine ourselves and give our sin its worst name that we can begin to declare victory. Sin is deceitful, though, and we often do not recognize the subtleties of deception inherent in the walls of our mind.Sometimes we can be convinced fully in our mind that we are “ok”, but we are covering over this unsettled feeling that will not let go.
Sometimes we can be convinced fully in our mind that we are “ok”, but we are covering over this unsettled feeling that will not let go.
The irony in the discomforts of this life is that God is using them to deliver us from self-preoccupation and into a land of promise. Reminds me of those Israelites again.
There they were, on the edge of entering the promise land and God told them to go check it out. I wonder if he was delighting to see their joy at the blessings He had in store for them. Kind of like I get more excited than my kids to see their expressions as they see the good I have planned for them for various moments of celebration.
He sent them there when the land was full of hope – the grapes were ripe and plentiful, what a good Father. The scouts had a job to do and a choice to make. Would they focus on all the hope surrounding them, or the potential struggles?
They told themselves lies. And they convinced others to believe them. God got pretty angry about it, too. Who wouldn’t? Ever prepared an amazing surprise for someone only to have them say they don’t like it?
Maybe in examining the lies they believed we might recognize our own self-deception, too.
Lie #1 – We are not able
Numbers 13:31 “We are not able to go up against these people, because they are stronger than we are”.
Huge flaw in this calculation – kind of left out the God factor here. They gave a discouraging report that focused on their strength rather than God’s and dissuaded the people from believing God.
Lie #2: Doubted God’s goodness and intentions
Numbers 14:3 “Why has the LORD brought us into this land only to be killed by the sword, that our wives and our children should become plunder?”
Ouch. The first lie focused on our inability, but the second one accused God. To say that God just wanted to bring them out to kill them. After all He had done for them. But our memories fade and we tend to forget all of the blessings when a massive thorn in our flesh comes knocking at our door.
Lie #3: Rebel against God and form our own plan.
Numbers 14:4 “So they said to one another, “Let’s appoint a leader and return to Egypt.”
The Israelites are in pretty bad shape to just say it is time to turn around and go home. Um, where was home? Living in slavery, eating onions and beaten all day? Sure sounds cozy.
They even dared to go ahead and try to claim the promised land their way – not God’s. It did not turn out so well for them. Lies will flood our mind unless we have the truth ready to dispute it. When we are tested like the Israelites were, we have to counter those attacks with the Word of God.
Truth #1: God is with us – do not fear
Numbers 14:9 “Only do not rebel against the Lord, and do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection has turned aside from them, but the Lord is with us. Do not fear them!”
God demonstrated His presence over and over again, through His Word and through actions. We need to believe that He is with us and He is for us.
It will be hard because reality sometimes hurts desperately. Maybe our hearts melt within us and it seems there is no way out – kind of like that tunnel image above.
Closed in by our circumstances, we see one way out, but there are actually two. One path seeks God and the other seeks our own way.
Truth #2: Disbelief in God is hatred toward Him.
Numbers 14:11 “The Lord said to Moses, “How long will this people despise me, and how long will they not believe in me, in spite of the signs that I have done among them?
Sometimes the fear of the LORD is a good reminder. When we see that our disbelief is wicked in God’s sight, we need to repent and ask God for mercy, to give us faith. None of us would want to say we hate God. But disobedience is not love. If we love the Father, we will obey Him.
Truth #3: He is good and His plans are good.
Numbers 14:20 “Then the Lord said, ‘I have forgiven them as you asked. 21 But truly, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord.’”
Despite the constant disobedience of God’s children, He still forgives and redeems. His plans will not be thwarted. He is loving, long-suffering, kind.
Truth #4: He sees you.
Psalm 33:13-15 “The LORD watches from heaven; he sees all people. 14 From the place where he lives he looks carefully at all the earth’s inhabitants. 15 He is the one who forms every human heart, and takes note of all their actions.”
He rules over everything and still considers us. Wow. He saw the Israelites and He sees us. He knows our every thought and He chooses to love us, anyway. He saw me when I felt inadequate as a wife and sat motionless in the courtroom. He knew the plans that were ahead of me that I could not see when my life was a blur. When my body felt so weak from infirmity for years on end, He spoke strength, even if I could not feel it at the time. Reality sometimes lies to us with its harsh expectations that are void of faith. The lies come in innocently enough, sometimes cloaked in righteous garb. But we do not have to fall victim to them. We are never trapped.
God has a way out that will blow our mind and restore our hope in a way we never thought possible! At the place of our devastation, there is always hope if we will just hold on and trust God.
A Time to Worship
The Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns reminds us of the eternal view of all that happens in
Lord, You are our ever present help in times of trouble. Help us to trust you.
This devotion is excerpted from the devotional: 31 Days to Hope Reinvented, available on Amazon.