I just wanted to encourage you with a few verses from Deuteronomy. I know from my own life and maybe you do from yours, how quickly I can forget the goodness of God. How God has led me, protected me, and has led me this far. These verses in Deuteronomy remind the Israelites of the goodness of God. It was at the time in which God was leading them into the promised land but due to their disobedience and fear. It resulted in them having to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. I recommend taking the time to read Deuteronomy chapter 1 and 2 because you will learn a lot from them. The verses I want to highlight are these.
Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.” (1v29-31)
God had led them to the promised land and they had sent spies to see what the land was like, the spies came back saying, “It is a good land that the Lord has given us.”. Instead, the people chose to fear what they would have to face.
Where can we go? Our brothers have made our hearts melt in fear. They say, “The people are stronger and taller than we are; the cities are large, with walls up to the sky. We even saw the Anakites there.” (v29)
In complete disregard to God, who was with them they chose to allow their hearts to be overwhelmed. Instead of turning to God for their strength and help, they turned against God and complained and even declared the Lord hated them to lead them to a place like this. Moses attempted to encourage them with the words found in verses 29-31, to remind them of how compassionate and caring God had been to lead them this far but instead of trusting, they rebelled. Which led to a forty-year journey in the wilderness, in which none of those people were able to enter into the promised land. (There were exceptions for certain people who would make it into the promised land. Especially Joshua, who had to been appointed to lead the people into the promised land.)
We are not so different from the Israelites when it comes to our faith. We see a challenge before us and instead of turning to God and allowing him to continue to lead us through. We turn away and attempt to figure it out all on our own. We allow fear to grip our heart and anxiety to rise and we begin to question God on His faithfulness, when instead we should be looking at our own lack of faith. The Israelites had everything before them, but they lost out on everything because of their disobedience.
In reflection, where is your faith in what you are facing today?
Do you believe in our compassionate God who holds us and leads us through life? Trials and triumphs, our unshakable God is with us through it all.
Or do you lack the faith to see the faithfulness and goodness of God in the challenges you face?
I do not write this lightly because it is something, I am working through myself. I have been learning to have faith is daily discipline that comes through prayer. In each new challenge I face, no matter how terrifying, I need to trust God will see me through it. We serve a compassionate and good God, who does not forsake us. We have our shepherd who leads us and knows the very nature of the challenges we face here on earth, Jesus. We have the Holy Spirit, who leads us and strengthens us as we allow Him to lead.
One further teaching on the Holy Spirit. I was reading Acts 4 and it records how after Peter and John had been released from prison; they went back to the other believers to report all that had happened to them. It leads to the believers praying this prayer.
“Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. (4v29-31)
It is okay for our faith to be shaken; we are human beings we are not perfect. There will be things we face which will make us doubt and fear. The threats the Apostles faced of persecution and death were not something they could take lightly. What we see from the Apostles is their response. They knew they needed boldness to carry on moving forward, they went straight to the Lord because they knew their strength and their hope came from Him. The Apostles knew the Lord’s faithfulness and knew they could rely on God to see them through. After they prayed their request was met by a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit which enabled them to speak the Word of God boldly.
God is faithful to the end of what He has started, in all our lives. Some of our journeys will be very tough. We do not need to fear God leaving us or forsaking us when the going gets tough. May we be like the Apostles and when we face tough situations, turn to God, and ask for the precise things we need. Our prayer may not be instantly answered in such a way as the Apostles but may we have the faithfulness to walk forward in what we have prayed for. Just like the Israelites and the Apostles, God will see us through too.
I pray we would be found with greater faith this year; especially in the goodness and faithfulness of God to lead us through. We are not alone, for God will carry us through it all.