There are moments in life that will define you. Great life examples would be getting married, having a child or starting a business. There are spiritual moments too. The day you decide to follow Christ with all your heart, that is a huge defining moment. The day you make the choice to forgive and allow all that bitterness, hurt and anger to.
Let me say a couple things about these key moments.
- They are life changing. Your choice has huge implications.
- They can feel scary. They take you outside your comfort zone, they stretch you.
- They can feel risky. You can feel stress because you might lose something.
- They can feel like a struggle. God could be leading you to do something you don’t want to.
- They are God moments. These moments are invitations from God for you to experience Him.
What is going on in your life today? Where are you struggling with God? What is your defining moment with God NOW? Before we walk through this Bible story today, I need to give you the context of what is happening. The Children of Israel where slaves in Egypt for 400 years. God raises up Moses to free them and lead them to a better place called the Promise Land. God frees them. God destroys their enemies who come after them to kill them. God leads them through the desert and they are about to walk into the promised land, a land of freedom. That’s where our story begins in Numbers 13 and 14.
Numbers 13 The Message Version Vs: 1-2 GOD spoke to Moses: “Send men to scout out the country of Canaan that I am giving to the People of Israel. Send one man from each ancestral tribe, each one a tried-and-true leader in the tribe.”
I have to share this with you. As God was leading the Children of Israel to the promised land of freedom, God is leading you too. What God wants for you is freedom. Every day you live, He is lovingly leading you to a place of freedom.
Vs: 25-26 After forty days of scouting out the land, they returned home. They presented themselves before Moses and Aaron and the whole congregation of the People of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran at Kadesh. They reported to the whole congregation and showed them the fruit of the land.
Twelve leaders spy out the land. They scout out the land together. They see the same things. They have the same experiences. I want you read for you what they report.
Vs: 28-33 The only thing is that the people who live there are fierce, their cities are huge and well- fortified. Worse yet, we saw descendants of the giant Anak. Amalekites are spread out in the Negev; Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites hold the hill country; and the Canaanites are established on the Mediterranean Sea and along the Jordan.” Caleb interrupted, called for silence before Moses and said, “Let’s go up and take the land – now. We can do it.” But the others said, “We can’t attack those people; they’re way stronger than we are.” They spread scary rumors among the People of Israel. They said, “We scouted out the land from one end to the other – it’s a land that swallows people whole. Everybody we saw was huge. Why, we even saw the Nephilim giants (the Anak giants come from the Nephilim). Alongside them we felt like grasshoppers. And they looked down on us as if we were grasshoppers.”
Ten leaders report: the enemy is fierce, the cities are huge, well-fortified, we can’t attack them. Two leaders report: the enemy is fierce, the cities are huge, well-fortified, we can do it. How can Twelve leaders see and experience the same thing and have opposite opinions? Here’s why. Ten men, same circumstances, same barriers, thought their barriers were greater than God. Two men, same circumstances, same barriers, thought God was greater than every barrier in front of them.
Just real quickly, in the key moments of your life, what do you see? Do you see that the barriers you face are greater than what God can do? Or, do you believe that God is greater than any barrier you face? I want to continue reading so we can see the impact these leaders had on the country.
Numbers 14 The Message Version Vs: 1-4 The whole community was in an uproar, wailing all night long. All the People of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The entire community was in on it: “Why didn’t we die in Egypt? Or in this wilderness? Why has GOD brought us to this country to kill us? Our wives and children are about to become plunder. Why don’t we just head back to Egypt? And right now!” Soon they were all saying it to one another: “Let’s pick a new leader; let’s head back to Egypt.”
What happens when people see barriers and believe the barriers are greater than God?
- Whining, complaining, gossiping and criticism.
- The belief that, where we are now is the worst possible place to be.
- It’s God’s fault, why would God ever put us in this horrible spot?
- Let’s go back to yesterday when things were better, more comfortable.
- Rebellion. We need a new leader, this leader isn’t giving us what we want.
Who lives like this? People who see the barriers and believe that every barrier they face is greater than what God can do. Is this you? Are you married to this? Is this your parents?
Think about the moments of your life, the struggles you have with God. Do you see yourself on this list? God is leading you. He wants to lead you to the promised land, freedom, the place where you experience God. Do you see are all the barriers, all the reasons why your life is so miserable? What God wants from you seems impossible! You are the victim in all of this! All you can do is whine, complain, gossip and criticize and conclude, “My life is miserable.” Is this you?
Chances are, maybe, this is a moment in your life that will define you. And all you can see are the barriers. You may not be seeing God.
The ten men spoke and created fear in the whole country. Now the two men are going to talk.
Vs 6-9: Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, members of the scouting party, ripped their clothes and addressed the assembled People of Israel: “The land we walked through and scouted out is a very good land – very good indeed. If GOD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land that flows, as they say, with milk and honey. And he’ll give it to us. Just don’t rebel against GOD! And don’t be afraid of those people. Why, we’ll have them for lunch! They have no protection and GOD is on our side. Don’t be afraid of them!”
Who lives like this? People who believe God can overcome any barrier they face. What happens when people believe that God is greater than every barrier in front of them?
- They believe, we will follow God wherever He takes us and He will make things happen.
- Confidence to know that God is with us, we can overcome every barrier.
- Courage to believe, if God is with us, why would I ever live in fear?
Who lives like this? People who see the same barriers everyone sees and believes that God is greater than every barrier they face. You have to realize, the Children of Israel where in slavery for 400 years. They have no trained army. They have no resourced like a sword. Caleb is saying, pick up your baseball bat and follow me! We’ll have them for lunch! Think about the moments of your life, the struggles you have with God. Is this you?
We heard the ten leaders speak. We heard the two leaders speak. I want to read for you God’s perspective on all of this. Vs: 26-30 GOD spoke to Moses and Aaron: “How long is this going to go on, all this grumbling against me by this evil-infested community? I’ve had my fill of complaints from these grumbling Israelites. Tell them, As I live – GOD’s decree – here’s what I’m going to do: Your corpses are going to litter the wilderness – every one of you twenty years and older who was counted in the census, this whole generation of grumblers and grousers. Not one of you will enter the land and make your home there, the firmly and solemnly promised land, except for Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.
I’m tired of these people. They don’t get that not going further with Me, is evil. Like a cancer that kills the body, fear enters them and they become evil. Because of this evil, this rebellion, I will not allow any of them to experience what I wanted to give them, freedom. However, the two leaders who believed in Me, they will enter My freedom.
Don’t you just want to enter this story and shout the entire country, “STOP IT! God rescued you. He saved you from Egypt and their army. He has provided for you and is leading you to a better place. The problem you are facing… IS YOU!
In those moments of your life, what do you see? The barriers? Do you see what God can do?
I want to be unfiltered with you. Many people believe that God has left them in the desert. They are tired, miserable and struggling. They grumble and complain. They are miserable because of everyone else. It’s even God’s fault! I want to love you enough to say, “Maybe, maybe, maybe… it’s you! God is leading you to better places but you refuse to follow. You are in the desert because you aren’t following God.”
What I have seen in my life and in the life of people for several years is that God asks us to do something very simple. What do we do? We take the simple and make it wildly complex and then we make a thousand excuses as to why what God said, doesn’t apply to you.
Example: Get financial help, get debt free. Our response: I can’t. Why? Well, more complex than that. I’ve got kids and we all need to know where everyone is so we have to have phones. I need a new car not an old car because I travel. See, what God says is good for everyone else but not me. We stay in the desert and wonder why we aren’t in the promised land.
God says, “Love your enemy!” Can you imagine how he wants you to love spouse? Our response: I can’t. Why? Well, you don’t understand what they did. I have tried to love them, imperfectly I know, but I have really tried and they aren’t doing their part. I’m done. Does God really want me to miserable. It’s so much more complicated than you realize. I have nothing in my to love them. See, what God says is good for everyone else but not me. We stay in the desert and wonder why we aren’t in the promised land.
Get involved at the local church, invest into my kingdom. Our response: I can’t. Why? Well, it’s a bad time. You don’t understand. The kids, soccer, football, field hockey. My job. Our life stage. See, what God says is good for everyone else but not me. We stay in the desert and wonder why we aren’t in the promised land.
In those defining moments of your life, God is leading you.
Stop making the simple complex, stop making excuses.
The biggest barrier you face, might be you!