Scripture: Deuteronomy 1:26 (Moses said to the people Israel) you were unwilling to go up into the Promised Land. You rebelled against the command of the Lord your God; 27 you grumbled in your tents and said, “It is because the Lord hates us that he has brought us out of the land of Egypt, to hand us over to the Amorites to destroy us… 29 I said to you, “Have no dread or fear of them. 30 The Lord your God, who goes before you, is the one who will fight for you…32 But in spite of this, you have no trust in the Lord your God…
41 You answered me, “We have sinned against the Lord! We are ready to go up and fight, just as the Lord our God commanded us.” So all of you strapped on your battle gear, and thought it easy to go up into the hill country. 42 The Lord said to me, “Say to them, ‘Do not go up and do not fight, for I am not in the midst of you; otherwise you will be defeated by your enemies.’ ” 43 Although I told you, you would not listen. You rebelled against the command of the Lord and presumptuously went up into the hill country.
Observation: God’s people reached the Promised Land in a few short years – but their fear kept them from entering at the appointed time. That was mistake #1. Mistake #2 was then deciding to make up for their lack of faith by entering the land when God was not with them. It ended badly. It would be 40 years before the people finally occupied the land God promised to them, time enough for all the fearful, rebellious adults to die. It was their children and grandchildren who ultimately took possession of the land.
Application: I would say most of us have a tendency to make one or the other of the two mistakes exhibited in our passage. There are some of us who tend to be overly cautious. We are reluctant to move into the unknown, going very slowly. Too slowly sometimes. There are others of us who act, then think. Going off half-cocked, we get ourselves into trouble. I tend more toward the second mistake rather than the first. What about you?
Timing is important in life. When the Lord opens a door, there is often a finite window of time for us to act – then the opportunity passes us by. There are also times when the Lord has not opened to door for us and we need to wait. Two questions for you today:
- Where might the Lord be opening a door for you to enter, but you are dragging your feet? What is the fear that’s keeping you from entering?
- On the flip side, where might you be getting ahead of the Lord, acting before God has prepared the way? What would it look like for you to wait for the Lord’s timing?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, timing can be everything in life. When we go too slowly, or too quickly, we miss out on the abundant life your son Jesus came to give to us. Give us grace to be “on time”. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.