79. Stand strong in the faith

We are currently in Numbers 20 and according to the comments in my Bible, 37 years had passed since Israel's first scouting mission and almost 40 years since leaving Egypt. Now the Bible is silent about the 37 years that had passed, but I am quite certain that it wasn't 37 pleasant years. Judging by the people once again complaining at Kadesh:

"We wish we had died in the Lord's presence with our bothers! Did you (Moses) bring the Lord's people into this wilderness to die, along with all our livestock? Why did you make us leave Egypt and bring us here to this terrible place? This land has no grain, figs, grapes or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!" Numbers 20:3 - 5

Poor old Moses, here he was receiving the blame again. As I was reading this, I realized that Moses almost never received any praise from the people he was shepherding on God's behalf. They were always moaning and complaining about him and trying to make someone else the leader instead of him. And on more than one occasion he had to plead with the Lord not to destroy these people, despite all the evil they have said and done to him. Moses never had it easy. Plus he had to suffer in the wilderness alongside all these people, despite the fact that he didn't do anything wrong. He wanted to go and possess the Promised Land, but it was the people who refused to go.

And this is a lesson for us. We tend to think if we are walking in the will of the Lord everything will go well with us. We will have a smooth ride and everything will go according to plan. I have even heard people say that when everything is well, you are in God's Will and when things go wrong or bad things happen, you are not in God's Will. Now that is a very daring statement to make. It wouldn't seem like it to me if you look at Moses' life. He has done everything God has told him to do, he surely was in God's perfect will for his life, but he certainly didn't have it easy.

Nor did several other people in the Bible that lived according to God's plan for them. Isaiah who faithfully preached God's message was sawn in half, Abraham was obedient in leaving his comfortable home but had to live like a nomad without his own country for the rest of his life, John the Baptist who announced the coming of the Messiah was beheaded, Peter who was a main leader in the early church was crucified, Paul who wrote most of the New Testament was beheaded and so I can go on. If I search through the Bible it would seem to me that following the Lord don't mean that we have a smooth ride. I mean Jesus, our Messiah, certainly didn't have one either. But what it does mean is that we can have ultimate fulfillment that we have run the good race and finished with an imperishable crown. And we can have God's peace and joy that transcends all understanding whilst in the situation we are planted in. We will have His loving arms around us and we will experience His presence.

And at the end of the day God's approval is what counts. He approved of all the names I mentioned above. Today they are heroes of the faith and we look up to them, but in their day they had it rough. We might also have it rough, but look up to God, the beginning and the end of our faith, and ask Him to lead you. If you are suffering for His sake, then it is worth it. He is molding you into a hero of the faith and you will reap your rewards some day, just keep on believing.

Father, thank you that we can know that one day we will have it smooth, one day we will live with You and we will be treated as royalty. But thank you that You are with us today too and that You are looking after us like a tender-loving parent. We love You, help us to stand strong. Amen

2 comments for “79. Stand strong in the faith”

  1. Gravatar of TanjaTanja
    Posted Friday, March 7, 2014 at 9:21:51 AM

    We've done Pr 3:5-6 with the children and it says: "Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in ALL your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." I wondered myself about this straight path...is this suppose to mean His way is easy? And then I realised: we're in the wilderness not knowing which way to go. We can follow the trail around the bushes, but it will lead us in the wrong direction. We have to go through the bushes...straight towards our Destination and that means pruning, cutting, burning and throwing away all bushes standing in the way of the straight road. That's not always pleasant, but if we look backwards, a beautiful, straight road has formed because of obedience. So one day, when we reach our Destination, we will see the straight road He made for us!

  2. Gravatar of LouinaLouina
    Posted Friday, March 7, 2014 at 10:38:31 AM

    It is so true! We can just keep our eyes on God and the wonderful fulfilling life as a result!

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