Here is the devotional from the second day our family ladies retreat. We had a powerful time praying each other on Saturday morning. I was honored and blessed to be in the room with such great women as we sought the Lord’s favor on each others lives. Here is hoping that you find the strength to walk into your own Promised Land!
Read Numbers 13:1-2, 17-33, 14:1-3, 6-9
Are you ready for battle?
This was the fateful moment that set the Israelites on a 40 year long walk through the wilderness. I can’t imagine being Joshua or Caleb (the only two who would see the Promised Land from the older generation). 40 years seems like a lot of wasted time when the mission of God was close at hand. They saw the Promised Land. They knew what it had to offer. However, because of the sins of the people, the mission that had been on their hearts since they left Egypt was now on hold. It must have seemed like forever as they waited.
I can’t help but look at the story from the perspective of the other 10 scouts. They all knew going into this trip that God had promised to give them the land. It was land what Abraham had journeyed to long ago. They had deep roots here even if it had been a while since their last visit. I’m not really sure what they expected to find. Part of me thinks they expected God to throw a big welcome home party for them. Upon entering the land they would find homes with the keys in the door, lights on, cleaned and cleared of all personal items such as idols. As we all know this wasn’t the case. The inhabitants of the land were strong, healthy and large. This wasn’t just any enemy. It really was an unfair battle. The Israelites felt weak in comparison, but they underestimated their number one resource: God! As a result, they wasted a lot of time. Time that they could never get back and for the older generation a promise they would never see fulfilled in their lifetime.
We all have a Promised Land. It’s the picture of God’s best for our lives. Often we assume the Promised Land comes with no battles and fights. We assume that God will just hand over the keys and we’ll walk right into it. However, life is seldom like that. The best things in life are worth fighting for. Sometimes I view struggles and set-backs as a way of God telling me this wasn’t for me. I wonder how many Promised Land experiences I’ve missed out on because I wasn’t willing to fight through it and keep going. A lot times the struggles look like giants. We see the odds and we know that they are not in our favor. The enemy is armed and we let fear stop us from going forward.
From the beginning, God told the Israelites that he was going to be with them. He told them he would give them the land. Instead of fighting for the promise, they wanted to turn around and head back to Egypt. Truthfully, it’s easier to stay in our slavery than fight for our freedom. When we resign ourselves to the fact that this how it has always been and this is how it will always be, we sell ourselves short of God’s best. Yes, fighting the battle will take effort. It will hurt. There will be moments when you want to retreat and accept the old way of life, but that would a waste. It would be like turning back into the wilderness on the cusp of the Promised Land.
When the Israelites finally made it the Promised Land, they did not fight their battles alone. God was with them. We can see that even at their first battle in Jericho the Commander of the Lord’s Army (scholars believe that this was a pre-New-Testament appearance of Jesus – God in human form) was there in person giving instruction to Joshua. The Israelites had success and God was fighting for them when they were dedicated to the cause and serving him wholeheartedly.
Just the same, we must not be afraid to claim the promises that God has made in our lives. If he has called us than he will equip us so we can accomplish our calling. Even if we don’t feel battle ready, all we have to do is remember that the Lord is fighting for us. The heavy lifting really isn’t on our shoulders, it’s on God’s. However, we must be active in claiming our Promised Land. Even though it’s up to God, we have to give feet to our faith and live it out. Don’t give up on your Promised Land because there is a battle ahead. Some things are worth fighting for and with God on your side you will see victory!