Friday, January 28

the effects of unbelief

I started reading the book of Hebrews, in my quiet time with God. It's been a little while since I last read Hebrews so I'm taking it slow. A couple chapters a day, generally with reflection.

A couple days ago, I was reading chapter 3. The latter half of the chapter talks about the Israelites wandering in the desert. The back story to this is that the Israelites were slaves to the Egyptians for many years...I think it was four hundred years but I can't remember where I heard that. Anyhow, they cried out for deliverance and so God sent Moses. Almost immediately after their freedom, the Israelites begin to question whether or not they can make it to the land that God had promised them, and cried to return to their slavery. They didn't know how to live in freedom. Well, I've also heard something to the extent that the trip from Egypt to the edge of the Promised Land was only like a 10 day trip. I suppose if you are transporting approximately a million people across a desert, it could take a bit longer...up to a month, perhaps? So they reach the Promised Land, send some spies in to scope out this land, and only two of the ten come back with a "let's conquer the land" message. The rest didn't believe it was possible...too much, too big, too threatening. The ironic thing is that God has already promised them this land...hence why it is called the Promised Land (with this kind of quick thinking, it's a good thing I'm working on my Master's degree). The land was theirs. The God who had delivered them from their bondage had given them this land and would deliver them from all that was "too" much. But the spies report made the general public afraid and they refused to claim their inheritance. At this point, God said "enough!" and allowed this group to roam around in the desert for 40 years. 40 years!!! Until every single person, minus the two "let's conquer the land" spies, had died, leaving their descendants to claim the land. For 40 years, their inheritance sat there, uninhabited by them, as they remained homeless and essentially purposeless. It's like living in a tent when you have a furnished house that is yours for the claiming.

So why did this happen? According to Hebrews 3:19, "they were not able to enter because of unbelief." Yikes! Their unbelief prevented them from being who they were meant to be, from living where they were meant to live. They were freed from slavery only to die as slaves to their own unbelief. Such a sad story.

Naturally this got me thinking about my own life.
Do I have unbelief in my own heart?
What could unbelief be keeping me from?
What "land' has God given me to conquer, which would shape who I am and be my sweet God-given inheritance, that I might miss out on simply because of my unbelief???
How awful would it be to find out I've missed out on this inheritance because I didn't have the faith and courage to walk where God wanted me to walk, to do or say what God wanted me to do/say.

My encouragement to you is to not let unbelief keep you from what God has in store for you. The God who was faithful to you yesterday, is faithful today and will be faithful tomorrow. Where you are too weak, too small, too insignificant, God is strong, powerful, and good!

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