After the scouts returned and ten men gave a bad report, the Israelites were not eager to press forward. Actually, they were considering the idea of selecting another leader to lead them back to Egypt. Yes, the people wanted to go back to their slavery in Egypt instead of the Promised Land. Talk about trust issues.
Joshua and Caleb, the two spies who were confident in the promises of God, tore their robes and fell to the ground. They spoke to the congregation only to have the people desire to stone them. Then God spoke. Moses pleaded with the Lord on the people’s behalf. God promised that none of the people would enter the Promised Land, but Joshua and Caleb. The people were to turn around and head back by way of the Red Sea. Punishment was poured out. Moses shared with the people what the Lord said. The people mourned. The next morning, they decided they were ready to enter the Promised Land, so rather than turn around as the Lord commanded, they pressed forward into disobedience and were defeated.
God’s timing is the timing that matters. He has everything beautifully orchestrated. There are moments He commands us to do something, and time passes before we obey. It is not supposed to be like that—when we hear the command of God, we should respond accordingly. Dragging feet is not permitted. But this was worse than dragging feet. When God commanded the people to turn around, they willfully disobeyed. When we are ready, we should be ready for whatever God has placed before us. The option of what we receive and when we receive it is always is in the hands of God. We shouldn’t answer, “Now we are ready” after His commands. Instead, our response should always be, “We are ready now” the moment of His command.
“Then they got up early the next morning and went to the top of the range of hills. ‘Let’s go,’ they said. ‘We realize that we have sinned, but now we are ready to enter the land the LORD has promised us.’” – Numbers 14:40 [NLT]
The other night I left the van windows open. It’s so easy for me to overlook as I’m not sitting back there. Of course it rained that evening. Thankfully it did not rain inside the van. I did not learn my lesson. Last night, I left the van windows open again. This time, the outcome was different. At the end of the day, I understand that it is not good for me to keep the van windows open at night. Perhaps practicing this bad behavior does not have any consequences most of the time, but there comes the moment when the downpour arrives.
We live in a world where most people believe that every road leads to God. I won’t argue that statement. I agree. Every road leads to God. At the end of your life here on earth, you will in fact meet God. For some people, this meeting will not be pleasant. Judgment arrives. After all of those evenings of leaving the van windows open without much consequence, the final judgment comes. And without Jesus Christ, the road leads to hell. Why? Because every road does NOT lead to heaven. Only through Jesus Christ do you receive the free gift of salvation. Only through the grace of God do you receive eternal life. This is why they call the road to heaven a narrow road.
Today, consider how you are living your life. Consider also the lives of those around you. You can leave the van windows open every night, but one day the downpour will arrive. Don’t wait for the downpour. Close the van windows at night! Ask Jesus into your heart. Begin to do life with Him and then write His Word on your heart. Treasure His commands. Embrace His presence.
“For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” – Matthew 7:14 [ESV]
“For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 [NIV]
One of my favorite books of the Bible is 1 Kings. Not so long ago I was led to make a Bible study for the book and it was a great journey through God’s Word. We are introduced to Elijah in 1 Kings and we see a lot unfold. From the moment he is on the scene, we are not provided much of an introduction into his life, but we slowly see this picture of Elijah revealed through the drought, the time with the widow, and the magnificent display by God at Mount Carmel.
Now Ahab describes Elijah differently than most of us would. He called him a “troublemaker.” A troublemaker. Most of us would not call Elijah a troublemaker. He was following God’s commands. He was anything but a troublemaker. But to Ahab he was a troublemaker because Ahab was not following God’s commands. What Elijah was doing was causing trouble for Ahab and his evil ways.
In the same way, people might see Christians as troublemakers. We stand firm and uphold the Word of God but that goes against what society desires. The world wants what the world wants. So you might be called a “troublemaker.” Just remember that there are two types of troublemakers. There are troublemakers who are simply standing firm on God’s Word so they appear as the disorder amidst the world. Then there are the troublemakers who are against God’s Word and are living a life filled with evil. Ahab saw Elijah as a troublemaker. We see Ahab as a troublemaker. The difference is—one is following God’s Word and the other is not. Where do you fall?
“When Ahab saw him, he exclaimed, ‘So, is it really you, you troublemaker of Israel?’” – 1 Kings 18:17 [NLT]