The Numbers 13 and 14 story was a pivotal moment in the history of God’s people- the Israelis. The 12 leaders Moses had sent to espy the Promised Land had returned with favorable talk and the luscious fruits of the land. 10 of these men also bore distressing news- the inhabitants of the land were too strong for the people of God.
This report from the overwhelming majority threw the whole community into mourning. Have you ever been where a couple of people were mourning? Imagine how distressing it must have been; over a million people mourning and crying. And for an extended period of time! The Bible said they did so ALL night.
Like folks say, hindsight is 20/20. We know that the vast majority of the children of Israel chose to dwell in unbelief instead of trusting God to take them to the Promised Land. When you read their story, do you sometimes shake your head at the staunch unbelief of the Israelis?
“Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.”[Romans 15:4, NLT]
I often wonder if generations to come would not read our own stories and shake their heads at staunch unbelief. Like in that Numbers story, the majority of people nowadays would rather choose to focus on evil reports instead of holding onto what God has done and said. It’s no longer in vogue to obey God’s Word or trust in Him.
And unbelief can be very subtle. Many Christians know (or have been taught) about the power of the Holy Spirit; about the power of Faith; about what God is able to do through a vessel that is submitted to Him. They agree that these things are true.
Yet when presented with credible testimonies of the Spirit’s move, the first response isn’t to glorify God. It’s to question the possibility or even deride it.
“And so He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”[Matthew 13:58, KJV]
We will limit the move of God’s Spirit in our lives and in our world if we persist in unbelief. We all need to do some self-examination. “Do I actually believe in miracles?” is a good question to ask. Take some time to actually check your belief system. Trust the Holy Spirit to search your heart and see if there is any hidden unbelief you need to repent from.
“Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’”[Mark 9:23, NKJV]
The world might not agree, but Jesus says it is possible for you to be healed. It is possible to get that miracle you’re looking for. It is possible for that impasse to give way. It is possible to receive your breakthrough. It is possible to receive answers to your prayers. All you need to do is to believe.
Remember that believing or exercising your faith does not mean you wouldn’t struggle with doubt. You think Caleb and Joshua at some point didn’t feel some form of fear while on their mission? They probably did. But like them, we must exalt what God has said and done over our doubts. We must always choose faith over fear and doubts.
It is not enough to mentally assent to the verity of God’s Word. We must show we believe in God by taking Him at His word and acting accordingly. The “voice of the people” is not the voice of God. The Word of God is the voice of God. And it is this voice we must listen to and obey.
Trust God’s power to come through for you. It’s not always easy to stay trusting, especially when you’re in the thick of things. But we must see things from the perspective of eternity: trusting God will always be the right decision.