Once you’ve been born into the Family and Kingdom of God you’ve stepped over into the biggest adventure of your life!
“You have now reached the land that the LORD our God is giving us. Look! He has placed it in front of you. Go and occupy it as the LORD, the God of your ancestors, has promised you. Don’t be afraid! Don’t be discouraged!”
(Deut 1:20-21 NLT)
Let’s first back up our story by following the journey of those who went before us, and who left their testimony as an example for us to learn from.
God delivered His people from Egypt with mighty miracles, but that was not the end of His plan. He had much more in mind for them – to repossess the Land of Promise that they had lost. Their Promised Land served as an example of our Land of Promise that God reveals to us through His Word. Your heavenly Father has placed before you many wonderful promises, as a gift, that He wants you to possess, now, in this life (Num 33:53)!
“When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them on the road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest way from Egypt to the Promised Land. God said, ‘If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.’ So God lead them along a route through the wilderness toward the Red Sea, and the Israelites left Egypt like a marching army.”
(Ex 13:17-18 NLT)
There was a short route from Egypt to Canaan but somehow God chose a slightly longer route. Why?
Well, God had a challenge. He rescued His people out of bondage but now He had to get that bondage mentality out of them.
For almost 430 years the people simply accepted life as it is. They lived as slaves. They perceived the world through the eyes of slaves. They talked like slaves. They acted like slaves. They never knew how to live as free people. So, God knew very well that their messed-up mentality would keep them imprisoned even though He had set them free. They needed serious attitude adjustments to get them to the life God promised them. If not, chances were good that they would either run back to Egypt when opposition arose, or choose death as an escape, or they would simply surrender to their enemies.
PREPARING THE HEARTS OF CONQUERORS
“At the LORD’s direction, Moses kept a written record of their progress. These are the stages of their march, identified by the different places they stopped along the way.” (Num 33:2 NLT)
See, God’s intention with the wilderness journey was to use that experience to teach His people who and what they had become. They were no longer slaves, no longer victims, but free people on a mission to take back what God had promised them. This trip was going to show them that God was on their side, and not against them. They were going to discover God’s heart, love, glory, mercy, character, power, provision, faithfulness, kindness, compassion and constant guidance like never before. They were going to discover that God alone is their place of safety, hope and strength.
This trip also brought the people face to face with themselves. It exposed all their secret fears, insecurities and beliefs. It exposed the frailty of their human nature and showed them that they couldn’t trust their own abilities or those of others. Instead, they had to trust God alone, who committed Himself to get them to the Land of Promise.
There’s nothing like discomfort or pressure to expose our hearts, is there? The wilderness trip was not easy. The people faced uncomfortable situations and serious opposition, but the pressure of it all revealed the condition of their hearts. The same applies to us. What do we do when we experience pressure in life?
Do we have the heart of a conqueror, or do we give up easily? Do we possess a positive attitude, or are we still locked up in the prison of a negative mind? Are we serious about taking possession of everything God already gave us? Do we have the guts, the will, and commitment to carry on, or will we abandon our hopes and dreams? Will we stick with God’s timing, or will we renegotiate our promise and settle for plan B? Will we allow fear to stop us, or will we sustain our fighting spirits to conquer? Will we stay faithful to our God no matter what happens around us, or how long it takes to get there?
Joseph experienced his process of preparation in a pit and a prison before he became the second-in-command of Egypt. Moses had his process of preparation in the desert before he went back to Egypt to deliver his nation. Jesus had His process of preparation in the wilderness where He had to overcome the devil’s attempts to choose the easy way out.
It was in the wilderness that God proved His people battle-fit and ready. It was there that He revealed Himself to them in a fresh way. It was there that He revealed Himself as the answer to all their needs. It was there that He took time to carefully prepare them to become what they were born to be. It was there that He matured them. It was there that He built character and integrity into them. It was there that they had to slay their private giants before they could go out to conquer public battles. They all had to go through the same process before they launched out into their destinies with power. And so do you.
A PERFECT TIME
“Don’t be impatient for the Lord to act! Travel steadily along his path. He will honor you, giving you the land.”
(Ps 37:34 NLT)
Are you in an in-between place right now – somewhere between Egypt and your Land of Promise? In other words, you know in your heart what God promised you but you’re not living in the reality of that promise yet. Or, are you facing private battles that somehow tempt you to quit? After all, since you’ve put your trust in God nothing has really changed in your life, in fact, you seem to be worse off than before. Or, do you think that what you believe God for is not going to happen and maybe you’re wasting your time on a fantasy? Or, have you ever thought that serving God is not helping you at all?
Now, have you ever thought that all these debates in your mind were designed by the devil to distract you and to keep you from the purpose and plan God has for you?
Being a believer doesn’t mean that you’ll never face another challenge in your life. It doesn’t mean that you’ll never have battles to fight. It doesn’t mean that you’ll never go through different seasons in your life. It doesn’t mean that you’ll never have times of hardship, light afflictions, or times of darkness in your life. You’ll go through a wilderness; you’ll go through seasons, you’ll go through different stages, and you’ll go through pretty tough times. That’s why your life as a believer will require guts, endurance, courage, and dauntless faith in your heavenly Father!
“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”
(Gen 28:15 NKJV)
Don’t worry or fret when you’re going through tough times, or when things are seemingly slow to happen in your life. God will take you through times of testing and preparation. But if you stay faithful to Him, and endure and serve Him right there where you are with a thankful heart and a good attitude, He will promote you every step of the way.
Remember, there’s a time for your vision to be fulfilled!
There’s a time for your dream to come true. There’s a time for you to step into the expected end of your faith. And if you wait patiently (while standing your ground in faith) for God’s perfect time everything will fall into place and nothing or no one will be able to stop it from coming to pass (Josh 1:5).
Sometimes we forget that growth is a process. We develop in stages. We develop our potential in stages. We reach our dreams in stages. We become who we were born to be in stages. God will teach you what you need to know exactly when you need to know it. And He will give you the grace to do what you need to do exactly when you need to do it. Just learn to trust Him.
God knows exactly what He’s doing. He will order your steps (Ps 32:8). He will guide you and His strength will support you (Ps 139:10). He will bring you through into all that He promised you (Gen 28:15). And should you take a wrong turn to the left or to the right, you will always hear His voice behind you saying, “This is the road, follow it” (Isa 30:21).
SPYING OUT YOUR LAND OF PROMISE
A whole generation who came out of Egypt, except for Joshua and Caleb, never lived in the land God promised them. Why?
Did God get their hopes up only to crush it again? Was it due to a lack of God faithfulness that the people forfeited the Promised Land? Did God perhaps change His mind? Was it that God favoured only Joshua and Caleb?
Didn’t the whole nation have the same God, who gave them the same promise? And did He not bring them all to the brink of the Land of Promise?
As the people approached Canaan, God allowed Moses to send out 12 spies to spy out the land. God knew the land He had given them was a good land but, according to the people, was it a good land or not (Num 13:17- 21)? Well, Joshua and Caleb saw what God saw. They knew they could make it because God was with them (Num 13:30). The rest of the spies saw the obstacles. They did not see what God saw and chose to turn away from the Land of Promise (Num 13:31-33).
As for you, when you spy out the Word of God, what do you see?
Do you see no hope for your country or yourself, or do you see hope and a future for all? Will you ever get healed or not? Will you ever get married, have children, get a promotion, or not? Will your life end in the death of your dreams, or not? Do you see anything at all, or are you drifting from day to day, religiously accepting your lot in life?
Listen, God wants you to have vision, and preferably His vision. If you can’t see anything you won’t go anywhere. Without vision you won’t have hope, and without hope you won’t have anything to put your faith to, and without faith you’ll never experience the life God sees for you. That’s why one of Satan’s chief strategies for wrecking your life is simply to steal your vision!
Now we know that life is real and at this moment you may not have any vision, or you may not see very far. You may not see past your pain. You may not see past your hopeless financial situation. You may not see past your symptoms. You may not see past your depression. You may not see past your addiction. You may not see past your crumbling marriage. You may not see past your anger. You may not see past your rebellious kids. But lift up your eyes and see what God has for you. God told Abraham to lift up his eyes from the place where he was into his future (Gen 13:14-15). And it was a good future!
“‘For I know the plans I have for you’ says the LORD. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster,to give you a future and a hope.’’
(Jer 29:11 NLT)
God wants you to experience His best in every area of your life. He wants you to enjoy life. You cannot hope for better days to come only in heaven. But you have a choice. You alone can choose to pursue your Land of Promise or to wither away in the wilderness.
“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life,that both you and your descendants may live.”
(Deut 30:19 NKJV)
God has set before you a choice between life and death, blessing and curse. Then He calls heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Not the choice He makes, or Satan, or people, or circumstances. The choices you make! Only you can choose what you want to believe or what you don’t want to believe of God’s Word. Only you can choose whether you want to live as a victim of your past or as a possessor of your future.
Your life is not at the mercy of fate or circumstances. God gave you a free will. His whole idea with us was people He could share a loving relationship with, not puppets He needs to control. If you don’t understand that God created us with a free will and that we do have choices in life, Christianity will be nothing more than a fatalistic puppet show to you.
Life is about choices. A good attitude is a choice. To be successful at whatever you do is a choice. To get to know God is a choice. To believe God is a choice. To have a blessed marriage is a choice. To enjoy good health is a choice. To live is a choice. To have peace of mind is a choice. To live in financial freedom is a choice. To trust God is a choice. Unbelief is a choice. To keep the commandment of love is a choice. To walk in integrity is a choice. To forgive is a choice. To spend quality time with God is a choice. To pray is a choice. To live by faith is a choice. To obey God is a choice. To spend quality time with your family is a choice. To give up, or to endure to the end is a choice.
God planned it this way so that we can stop blaming whoever or whatever we want to blame, and take responsibility for our own lives. Our future is not a matter of chance but of choice.
We cannot continue on a road of constant indecisiveness! How long do we still intend to wait before we take possession of our Land of Promise (Josh 19:2-3)? How long before we forgive that person, get rid of our bad attitudes, stop being lazy, get into the presence of God, study His Word, take a bold step of faith, or live in an atmosphere of love? How long before we sort out our lives?
“You have stayed at this mountain long enough. It is time to break camp and move on.”
(Deut 1:6-7 NLT)
Change always starts with a quality decision. But somehow some of us will always decide tomorrow, and after 300 tomorrows?
Picture this: Egypt is flooded with millions of frogs. The situation is clearly out of control and totally unbearable. Desperately Pharaoh calls for Moses and Aaron to get rid of the frogs. Moses agrees and calmly says, “You set the time.” Relieved Pharaoh immediately replies, “Do it tomorrow!” (Ex 8:8-11). Does that make any sense?
Time is a very expensive commodity. That’s why God will always challenge you to break camp and to move forward. He doesn’t want you to get stuck and settled in the same old place for the rest of your life on this planet.
AN ATTITUDE OF UNBELIEF
“So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”
(Heb 3:19 NKJV)
Twelve spies went to Canaan and had a taste of the abundance God told them about. After forty days of intense inspection the spies came back. And this is what ten of them had to say, “We arrived in the land you sent us to see, and it is indeed a magnificent country – a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is some of its fruit as proof. But …” (Num 13:27-28 NLT).
They had proof in their hands, but!
God gave the people a magnificent land but as they went out to see it for themselves their emotions took over. They saw exactly what God promised them but no, they had to have their own little group discussion. “But what about this, but what about that?” And so they discussed themselves right out of the will of God. Worse than that, ten spies discouraged the rest of the nation and prevented them from entering the Land of Promise as well.
God faithfully brought His people to the border of Canaan but like a crooked arrow, they turned back and missed the target of His will for them (Ps 78:54, 57). Pharaoh could not stop them. His soldiers could not stop them. The Red Sea could not stop them. None of the enemies they faced along the way could stop them. Unfavourable circumstances could not stop them. Their sin did not stop them. God never stopped them. They simply limited Him by their unbelief (Ps 78:22, 41).
And there you are, you have the Word of God as proof in your hands and indeed His promises are wonderful, but …?
BELIEVE THE GOOD NEWS!
“Here begins the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.”
(Mark 1:1 NLT)
“And his name will be the hope of all the world.”
(Matt 12:21 NLT)
Some people spy out the Word of God and back away from it because it sounds too good to be true. And then they start to reason and analyse. How can it all be so good? Who says it’s for me? How is it going to happen? When is it going to happen? What if I take the risk and I fail? What if God fails me? What if I pray and nothing happens? What if this is all just my imagination?
“I publicly proclaim bold promises. I do not whisper obscurities in some dark corner so no one can understand what I mean. And I did not tell the people of Israel to ask me for something I did not plan to give. I, the LORD, speak only what is true and right.”
(Isa 45:19 NLT)
Settle this in your heart: God will not give you a promise and not follow through on what He said (Isa 45:23). He gave you His Word that not one of His promises will fail to be fulfilled in your life. His Word has been tested, like silver in a fiery furnace, purified seven times (Ps 12:6). Time after time God’s Word has proved itself to be true. You can trust Him!
WATCH OUT FOR STONES
When Joshua and Caleb came back from their assignment with good news, the people wanted to stone them (Num 14:10). The same thing happened with Jesus. He didn’t come to preach doom and destruction. He didn’t come to tell people how utterly wicked and hopeless they are. He came to give people good tidings of great joy (Luke 2:10). And yet some people became seriously offended at Him.
How many people today still think that the Bible is too good to be true? How many people still think that you’re totally illogical or temporarily insane because you believe the Word of God? And don’t think everybody around you will be happy if you tell them that God has healed you, or blessed you, or came through for you. Not all people get excited about the good works of God.
You will get stones of ridicule hurled at you if you believe the Word of God (Num 13:32). But do yourself a huge favour; shut all negativity out of your life. Never allow it to corrupt your faith or to wreck your dreams. And don’t go around having group discussions with just anyone to hear what they think about what God told you. Some people will talk you right out of God’s promises. Rather make up your mind that you’ll go forward, alone if you have to, on the Word of God to take possession of all that belongs to you!
AN ATTITUDE OF FAITH
“Jesus said to him,‘If you can believe,all things are possible to him who believes.’”
(Mark 9:23 NKJV)
Joshua and Caleb, who spied out exactly the same land (in other words they read exactly the same Bible), came back with a positive report. Why?
They made up their minds to trust God. After all, wasn’t it God who delivered them from slavery? Wasn’t it God who gave them the promise? Wasn’t it God who supernaturally parted the Red Sea? Wasn’t it God who guided them through the wilderness? Wasn’t it God who gave them victory over all their enemies? Now will this God, who brought them this far, leave them now? No!
By now Joshua and Caleb had witnessed enough about their God to know that if He said something the debate is over. Yes, God mentioned the obstacles and enemies but they knew that none of that mattered. God had already given them the land, as a gift. All they had to do was to go and take it.
Remember, God never said that opposition to your mission will not come, but He did say that nothing shall be able to stop you from what He has for you (Josh 1:5). So don’t allow any person, or demon, or fear, or negative emotions to stop you from what God has for you.
Look at the Hall of Faith in the book of Hebrews Chapter 11. It tells the story of ordinary people who became extraordinary only because they knew their God and took Him up on His Word. They fearlessly acted on the Word of God right in the face of apparent defeat, shattered hopes, or the ridicule of people. They refused to surrender to defeat, even when the battle became seven times worse. They never allowed their challenges to become greater than God. And so they brought honour and glory to God’s Name for generations to come!