When the Israelites reached the edge of the Promised Land (Canaan), Moses sent out 12 spies to see what the land was like and what kind of people lived there (Numbers 13). Upon their return, all 12 spies reported that the land was flowing with milk and honey, just as God had promised. As evidence, they brought back a single cluster of grapes so big that two men had to carry it on a pole between them.
But 10 of the spies tacked something on the end of that initial report. "Nevertheless," they said, "The people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large.... All the people we saw there are of great size.... We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them."
So they saw the cluster, the sure sign of God's blessing, and their answer was, "Nevertheless."
What about the other two spies, Joshua and Caleb? "The LORD is with us," they said. "Do not be afraid of them."
But the Israelites listened to the report of the 10 spies. They saw the promise, but refused to believe. The result was 40 years of wandering for that entire generation. Out of about 2 million people, only Joshua and Caleb got to enter the Promised Land. (Each of them was "One in a Million.") Not even Moses got to enter, although God did allow him to view Canaan from a mountain on the other side of the Jordan River.
Priscilla urged us to consider the new territory God wants to take us to. She suggested that we make a "cluster keeper," a journal or some other record of the clusters of blessings God has already given us. When we feel afraid, when we feel tempted to say "Nevertheless," we should focus on our personal proofs of God's goodness and faithfulness. God has selected US to break through the barriers, to break out of our religious complacency and go where He leads us.
After Moses saw the Promised Land, he died and Joshua became the new leader. The Israelites mourned for 30 days, and then they moved forward under Joshua's leadership (Deuteronomy 34).
- Joshua acted immediately in obedience to God. He didn't linger or procrastinate. "Early in the morning, Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over." (Joshua 3:1) They camped there for three days, getting a good look at their impossible circumstance; it was April, and the river was swollen with melted snow from the mountain.
- Joshua acted fearlessly in spite of insurmountable odds. Right there on the banks of the raging river, he told the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you." (Joshua 3:5)
Just as God had instructed, Joshua told the priests to carry the ark of the covenant and go ahead of the people. At the beginning of the exodus, when God parted the Red Sea, the previous generation had stepped out onto dry land. But this time the priests had to step into the flood waters. They had to get their feet wet and trust that God would hold back the water as he had promised.
- Joshua acknowledged the presence of God. He instructed the people to watch the ark of the covenant. When they saw the priests carrying it, they were to move out from their positions and follow it. (Joshua 3:3)
- "The bigger your deep waters, the more enormous the opportunity for a miracle. Celebrate!"
- Get up early, literally and figuratively. Start your day by seeking God's direction, and make Him your first priority.
- As you look around at your impossible circumstance, or you contemplate the impossible task God has called you to do, anticipate miracles. Don't let Satan's stronghold of fear hold you back from pursuing God's will.
- Wait for God to move before you move. Just as the Israelites waited for the ark of the covenant, which represented God's presence, we must watch for God's leading. And don't be distracted by all the good things around you. "Every good thing is not a God thing." If you get too busy doing good things, you won't be able to accomplish God's purpose for you.
- Get your feet wet. When you see God leading you, go ahead and step out. God will hold back the waters, but you have to take that first step in faith.
I fully expect to see evidence of God's leading in my life. I intend to get my feet wet as soon as He gives me the signal.