The Problem with Promise

In Numbers 13 you find the story of the Israelites spying out the Promised Land. In verse 27-28 it writes:

Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there.'"

The first thing that jumps out to me is the acknowledgement that the land is good. Have you ever had a prophetic word, hope, or dream that was "good"? But something, the challenges that lie within the promise, cause you to back away from it? This generation of Israelites understood that physically they had zero chance against the current inhabitants. They were thinking it through and 'counting the cost.' The 'problem' in the land was too strong. They had left Egypt (where yes, they were slaves) but remembered how good it was compared to what Moses had brought them through. Egypt now is compared to the 'world' and the carnal nature we are inclined to - more on this at the end.

Sometimes I wonder if God doesn't reveal the process to us, only the end-result. Take Joseph, a man who had dreamed his brothers and parents would bow down to him. He had an exciting promise to lead his family and be praised (some may hate this, but Joseph didn't seem to have pride in the dream). Yet, if he only would have known what would come to get to this place. If God told Joseph that he had to be sold into slavery, wrongfully imprisoned and then slowly work his way up from there - he likely would have laughed and said something like, "No God, I'm good here with my mom and dad." Many times God will evict us from our present position so he can lead us to something better. I am sure Joseph wished he knew what was coming, but the reality is Joseph may have not been able to 'pay the price,' if he had known the cost.

Jesus had a similar desire to cut off those who were not willing to 'count the cost.' In Luke 14:25-33 it says:

"Now great crowds accompanied Him, and He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’"

As an example, let's say that I receive a word that I'm called to quit my job and move to a city with population 300 and start a church. Now this may seem drastic, but these are often times the type of calls people seem to receive. Or sell their things and be a full-time missionary and live in a developing country preaching the Gospel. God wants us all-in or all-out. My mind wanders to the Rich Young Ruler. The man who did many things right, so Jesus told the man to sell all of his possessions and give to the poor so he could follow after Him. He walked away sadly because he had 'many possessions.' Christ then says it is harder for a rich man to inherit the Kingdom then for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. [Matt. 19:16-26] As most of us in America, we have 'many possessions.' It makes it hard to look at the Promised Land and want to leave what is presently before us.

All of this leads to my main idea. The problem with the Promised land isn't the inhabitants. In America, it isn't the LGBTQ push. Nor the abortion 'giant' in the land. God can handle those things with ease. It isn't a dark and corrupted society. The problem with promise is us: the person in the mirror. You're in your flesh. You're overthinking it. You're not clinging to Christ. You lack faith. You are afraid. You have no confidence in Christ. You have too much Egypt in you. Rather, too much of the world in you. Until we begin to look at things through our Spirit man (as Caleb or Jonathan) we will always be the generation of Moses - looking at God's promises and still turning the other way. We need to be as Joshua's generation, those who have no Egypt within them, who trust God and want to pursue the Promises He has for them. No matter the cost.

Which generation are you? Think on it.


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