“Taking with them some of the fruit of the land, they brought it down to us and reported, ‘It is a good land that the Lord our God is giving us.’ But you were unwilling to go up.”
~Deuteronomy 1:25-26a (NIV).
One of the most important theological principles in the Bible is outlined above. And theological principles always have solid applications to our practical lives. In this case it’s the issue of apprehensiveness.
In context, back then, the land was fertile, the enemy vulnerable and God was certainly on their side—yet, the Israelites did not go in. They stubbornly resisted the call to complete the mission, having been brought many years to—their ‘now’—the cusp of deliverance.
And we do too.
We will often baulk when the victories—little and large—stand immediately before us, despite all the preparation that has been made.
The Nature of Fear and Unbelief
Perhaps we can excuse ourselves in that we haven’t had that salient call of God placed on us to go on into ‘such and such’ a Promised Land. Many people struggle to know what God’s plan for their lives is. For the fortunate few, it seems, there is a clear channel—a constant communiqué—as to what God wants from them.
This speaks more of spiritual ambiguity than it does of the sort of rebelling fear and unbelief that was represented in the Elect of God in Numbers 13 and 14 and recalled in Deuteronomy.
But we might also take heart, positively, that no salient call of God means we’re to actively seek out this Promised Land—for he has it for all believers (Ephesians 2:10).
This is sort of like what we find with singles. They desire to find a partner, court and marry. It pays to be active enough and taking the positive steps in venturing out i.e. not holding back. The partner of our dreams is not suddenly (and mysteriously) going to ‘fall into our arms’ without some intent and action on our own behalves.
The old saying is true: “God helps those who help themselves.”
Many times we’re stunted in our growth and positions in life because we don’t advance upon ground we don’t readily see—but, in faith, is there. It’s always there.
It may only seem, then, that there is no problem with fear and unbelief when these very things are quite normal and natural on the side of our carnality—a condition we must live with to a certain extent all our lives.
The nature of fear and unbelief, then, is insidious. It lurks beneath our consciousness often and is the very reason we take the safe route in life—which paradoxically is responsible for crushing our hope through holding us back. (Don’t get me wrong; safe choices for the main part, also, are crucial—this is also variously known as ‘wisdom.’)
Take Heart and Go On In
There is a Promised Land for everyone.
The Bible is littered with examples of this. We were predestined for blessing in walking with God. This has nothing whatsoever to do with material wealth, but spiritual wealth.
These are the things of hope and a holy happiness—our purposes defined, refined and executed.
Where, today, is God calling us to move on with him into the Promised Land he’s prepared for us? Are we resisting his call? Perhaps we’ve known failure and defeat in similar (or the same) circumstances.
But now is different. The time has changed and what seems the same just plain isn’t.
Faith (Courage) and Wisdom
Going on into our Promised Lands requires faith, as well as wisdom, and not simply at one point in time. It requires a continual commitment; a habitual demonstration of faith (which is ongoing courage) and application of wisdom.
The great thing is, however, the more faith we show, the greater our faith grows in response to our increasing confidence, and the more wisdom is vindicated.
This is in response to the very many varied blessings that God shows us.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.