Some days, you sit down to read the Bible out of habit – because it’s what you do every day. You don’t expect anything particularly special to happen. Maybe you don’t even think to pray before you read.
And some days you’re surprised at the strength of your own reaction.
Numbers 12 was up next in my reading. I usually read anywhere from 1 to 4 chapters, depending on how much time I have and whether I stop to study something. After completing 1 chapter, Numbers 13 begins with the following verses:
The Lord said to Moses, “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.”
And I stopped. To say I hesitated would be a major understatement. I felt as if I really couldn’t go on.
I just didn’t want to hear this story again.
I didn’t want to hear about the failure of the 10 spies.
I didn’t want to then read about another 40 years in the wilderness.
I didn’t want to see them wander around the same mountain, complain about the same things – and long for the slavery of Egypt.
I didn’t want to face these things because I knew I would see myself in the story.
Which part of it all gives me pause? Is it the 10 spies who couldn’t, really wouldn’t, look past the challenges long enough to remember what God had already done? Am I so blinded by my own perceived giants that I can’t remember God’s power and faithfulness? Am I so focused on what I know happens next because I, like the Israelites, look back longingly at all the food I had to eat and how, at times, life seemed so much easier, completely ignoring the fact that I was also in slavery?
Do I struggle to even imagine a world where I can instead be like Caleb and Joshua, to be able to look right past the challenges because I know exactly what God is capable of? To be able to state emphatically as Caleb did, “Let us go up at once and possess it for we are well able to conquer it!” (Numbers 13:30).
Because honestly, a lot of the time, when I look at the big struggles in my life like my battle to break up with food, it’s hard for me to envision the Promised Land. It’s near impossible for me to imagine myself moving past this Romans 7 existence (where I continually do what I don’t want to do) and into Romans 8 victory (where I am walking in freedom).
Am I afraid of what the Promised Land might bring?
Only Jesus knows me well enough to answer that.
Jesus, I submit myself to You – over and over and over and over. I am Yours. I do what I don’t want to do, and yet I know I am free from condemnation. Help me to not be afraid of the Promised Land and the battle that is required of me in order to walk into that place of freedom and victory. Because I know Who wins in the end. In the mighty name of Jesus I pray, Amen.