The Israelites stood on the verge of entering the Promised Land. They made the long journey from Egypt to the land God had promised to them and their ancestors. God had rescued them from slavery in Egypt where abuse and inhumanity were regular occurrences. Though the journey out of slavery was treacherous and uncertain, they had none other than God on their side. Though they at times were ready to turn back because the journey had proven difficult, God remained steadfast and faithful to the people. And now they stood poised to enter the land flowing with milk and honey.
Moses sent in spies and ten came back with unfavorable reports. “There are giants,” they reported. The ten even spread rumors among the people to work them up against any further progress.
But two came back hopeful. This truly is the land God has promised us. Their eyes were fixed on the prize. Their confidence lay not in their own strength but in the One who had brought them this far. Sure there were giants. But, they were nothing in the face of God’s powerful presence who had delivered them to this point.
But the people believed the ten. They would rather go back to Egypt. Moses prayed for God to forgive them, which God did. However, they weren’t allowed to enter the Promised Land.
This story is a poignant one for us. Because the future isn’t guaranteed and at times obstacles stand in the way, it is easy and seemingly safer to retreat back to what is safe. It’s easier to safeguard what we have rather than risk seeing the beauty God has for the faithful in the future. Obstacles always stand in the way of God’s Kingdom. But the question the story raises is who do we believe is on our side? Is it not the God who can free a whole community out of slavery and sustain them even in the desert? Is it not the God who can overcome death itself and raise us from the dead? Is it not the God who can take a small group of followers of God’s Son and turn an Empire upside down?
With this in mind, are the obstacles ahead insurmountable? Is not the change worth it? Is not the risk worth it so we can witness the miracles of God? After all this is the point. The obstacles ahead can only be removed by God’s power and presence, not by us. It’s much easier to retreat. But how much more are we missing if we retreat? What unforeseen blessings are ahead if we step out in faith?
Many of you have heard of a variety of changes happening in our Church. Personally, I believe they are God’s good work. They are risky – a daycare? A new service? But over and over God has opened doors to make these possible. Obstacles remain, but I trust God has great things in store. I see giants. But those giants are no match for our God.
A quote I mentioned in our Council meeting this past week I think sums it up well. It reads, “A ship is safe in the harbor, but that’s not what it is built for.” We are made to be out in God’s mission. Doing what is necessary to bring people to the saving knowledge of God’s Love. I’m excited to see what God has in store for us and to see lives transformed.
Grace and Peace,