God’s Power and Promise
What’s likely to happen when your faith begins to falter? In the Book of Numbers, we see a people that didn’t reflect on what God had done in the past, neither did they look forward to God’s future promise. They were overcome by fear of death and despair.
When the leaders lost their faith, the people of Israel faced a crisis. Once the majority of spies said there was no hope, the Israelites went from wondering to mourning to outright rebellion. In the heat of the moment, the people’s rebellion escalated. They took the ridiculous position that they would be better off dead! The people contemplated the merits of having died as slaves in Egypt or having died in the desert on the way to the promised land.
Moses and Aaron fell down in a posture of repentant prayer. Joshua and Caleb, the two faith-filled spies, tore their clothes as a sign of mourning. They entered into such postures because the rebellion of the people was a sin against God and grievous to the soul. These men wanted to lead their people toward faith in the God who fulfills His promises. Their slavery had been broken. Deliverance of the nation through the wilderness had been assured. The promised land they had awaited was within sight. This was all due to the gracious hand of God.
What do you turn to for strength in moments when your faith is faltering?
God’s work in the past isn’t only for the history books. It’s the assurance of what He can do in your present circumstances. As the church, we must also look at our present circumstances from the viewpoint of God’s work in the past and His promise for the future.
As believers, we have been freed from sin. The temptation we face is an impossible power to overcome—when we fight on our own. The Israelites faced enemies who were bigger, stronger, and had every perceivable advantage. The church stands against the world, the flesh, and the Devil, who all seem to carry an advantage over us, but this too is just perceived.
When have you faced a difficult circumstance from which God delivered you? Did reflecting on God’s work in your life in the past give you strength to face that trial? Why or why not?
To ensure that the people clearly understood the gravity of both their history and their present circumstances, the Lord personally visited them. As Joshua and Caleb bowed down and cried out for the people to remember God’s presence among them, God did the work Himself. Every work of God in our lives is an opportunity to trust Him more deeply.
As Christians, we have something the Israelites did not. We have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. God personally resides in us, as believers in Jesus, to give a witness of His ongoing work. The Holy Spirit’s presence with us is a down payment of what He has promised will be fulfilled in the future.
Why does the Spirit dwelling in us give us an advantage over the Israelites whenever our faith begins to falter?
Excerpted from Philip Nation and Robert Smith, The Gospel Project: God the Savior © 2015 Lifeway Press®. Used by permission.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission.
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