Recap: 1John 5:12 encourages us to strive to live in Christ. It is important to not solely aspire to accumulate worldly riches, but to live a life worthy of God. Think about your relationship with God. Is God pleased with your actions? Everyday you are alive is an opportunity to live a life pleasing to Him, fulfilling His will. We are reminded in 1 Corinthians 6:19 that our body is the Lord’s temple. This begs the question, are you accommodating Christ in your life? If we live in Him, He will live in us. (John 14:23)
Hence the importance to walk in the right way. John 14:6 tells us that Jesus is our direction. If we want direction, we have to understand WHO Jesus is and WHAT He did on earth. He came to be the living example of the kind of life acceptable to God. Unfortunately, some people did not accept Jesus when He came on earth. Why? Simply because, they did not understand the word that was said from the beginning. Even though John the baptist went before Jesus and proclaimed that “one greater than he,” would come. It needed people to understand the times. Indeed people already worshiped God, but they also needed to understand that the one prophesied about, had come and was amongst them. They crucified Jesus quickly to observe the sabbath, yet Jesus was the King of the sabbath. To them, Jesus was a threat not a saviour. It was the flawed perception people had of Jesus that became their downfall. To them He became an enemy rather than the Son of God sent to bring them the Kingdom. They didn’t accept the good news He brought nor understood His purpose. So understand that Christ is indeed the only way, the truth and the life. Understand what Jesus represents so you are in line with God’s instruction. For only those who are obedient will inherit eternal life (Matthew 7:21.) Jesus came to teach what the Father wants. Anyone that follows His teachings is following the decrees of the Father. Jesus came to fulfil the scriptures and ensure that whatever was taught from the beginning would be upheld. His ministry started in the synagogue and He urged people to repent. Meaning that God’s laws were already established but people had left God’s ways. Therefore Jesus stood to show the way
Numbers 13:25- 33, 14:1-4
What influences people to take a certain direction? Why do we follow a particular one? What considerions do we take when we chose a certain direction? Do we trust, do we believe? Direction is important for all of us. If one takes a wrong direction, the outcome is never favourable. It affects many people and many congregants. Offen we see many opposite directions being taken within one church. This leads to the formation of factions and divisions simply because some people have failed to follow a fundamental principle.
In today’s scripture we see that God had a particular direction He wanted the community of Israel to follow. 12 Spies were sent in advance and brought back a report of an assessment of the land. 10 gave a damning report of giants and hardships ahead so instead intended to find another leader to take them back to Egypt. On the other hand, Caleb and Joshua gave a positive report and willed the people to advance as instructed by God in faith He would give them victory. So the people were presented with conflicting reports. If we trace the history of the Israelites, we know that God had promised Abraham that his descendants would live under captivity but would be rescued and led to a promised land. So ultimately, God had a promise and specific direction to fulfil it. Exodus 13:17 reveals God’s intent to lead them via a meandering route so they wouldn’t return if faced with the prospect of battle. You see, sometimes God leads people through uncomfortable circumstance. However, that’s the direction of salvation, the direction to get us to our destiny.
Going back to our scripture, when the spies were giving a report, they were giving a report of what they had seen. Yes they had seen giants, but the issue is, even if God had given them direction, they did not believe in His ability to take them to the promised land. They did not trust God to take them through the difficult situation. This fact was reflected by the report they gave. Seemingly suggesting God had made a bad decison. The report caused the Israelites to see impossibility. They feared for their wives, children and livelihoods and forgot how mighty and powerful God was. God had already demonstrated His ability and performed miracles in their aid yet they overlooked His capabilities. Naturally people tend to follow the testimonial of someone that may have experienced something. So inevitably the compelling report the spies gave resulted in complaint and rebellion. The people saw giants, but failed to appreciate how it was God who created heaven and earth, and made a way where there was non. Rather than leaving the battle to God and trusting him, they opted to rebel and go back. They even spent the whole night in distress thinking they were doomed, but God wanted them to take courage.
Putting this into context, what influences our direction is what we allow ourselves to hear. It can also be the fear embedded in us, or inherited by association. Our course of action is influenced by our perception of our future. Sometimes we have a negative thought because we may have heard a negative report. Even if we have not encountered it for ourselves, we then retract or remain where we are. You cannot experience the promises intended for you if you lack insight on what God is capable of.
Today, people don’t advance in life because of the fear of the unknown yet everyday, we testify of the goodness of God. When He gives instruction, because we are filled with fear and distrust, we always opt to remain where we are, or simply not get involved. As a result the church of God does not advance. It is full of people that do not trust God. They only trust that God has brought them thus far, but no further. If God has promised something, trust that God will fulfil it. You need to be strong and take courage. Joshua was instructed to be courageous. It was his responsibility as an individual and God would then do the rest. Even though some victories will not be handed to us on a silver platter, sometimes God wants to see our courage. See us moving forward, trying something new or taking a risk whilst trusting Him. What influences your decisions to follow or not? Many people follow a friend who they are affiliated to. If the friend isn’t following, they also follow suit. That’s the power of influence. Perhaps you are so close to someone, you don’t want to disappoint them so you yield to their influence. You need to have independent thinking and independently trust in God as taught by Jushua 24:15. Regardless of other peoples perceptions, remain steadfast. You have to make that personal decision because the life is yours.
Jesus’ ministry was to unify people not divide. He prayed for his disciples to be one. If you are someone who divides others then you have to examine yourself. Blessed are the peacekeepers.(Matthew 5:9). Do not let your perceptions hinder others. When fear is instilled in you, you get paralysed and opt for what you know. The Israelites saw captivity and loss of life instead of the power of God. You have to dump fear and embrace faith.
Sometimes the direction we take is influenced by the faith of the person narrating the instruction to us and our trust in that person. Even though Moses had sent the spies, the people did not trust Moses. They did not believe what God had instructed him. In contrast, Caleb and Joshua trusted God. They believed Moses to be a servant of God and whatever God said to him, would surely happen. Their trust of God and their belief through affiliating with Moses as a man sent by God, earned them the ability to enter the promised land. The relevance is if we fail to trust in God we miss the promises of God. The people who complained against God despite all the wonders He performed did not enter the promised land. Instead a judgement of a year in the wilderness for every day the spies spent in Canan meant they wondered for 40 years. We have to be mindful of what we allow ourselves to hear and from whom. Sometimes what we say with our own mouth angers God. When the Israelites complained against God, they were abandoning Gods direction and opting for their own path. Caleb and Joshua tore their clothes in distress. They truly understood the repercussions and consequences of such actions. Even though the people were later forgiven for their actions, God had already made His decision against them. Therefore, understand this, even if a messenger of God in your church intercede on your behalf, if God has made a decision against you, you will still miss out on your promise. God is God. Whatever He says will come to fluision. Have Jesus in your life so that whatever you experience does not cause you to complain or question God.
I am reminded of the story of the Israelites when they crossed the River Jordan in flood (Joshua 1:1-9). The direction was to move when the covenant box moved. The covenant box represents the presence of God. How does this tie in with today’s scripture? Well, if we stop seeing the presence of God, we start to make our own decisions. If we don’t see the presence of God in our leadership, we start to deviate from it. Following their rebellion and receiving judgement for it, the Israelites remained outside God’s instruction. They insisting on going into battle against the direction of Moses and without the presence of God (Numbers 14 : 36 – 44). As a result, they were defeated and killed.
The main takeaway is God’s presence will bring victory. When we move in the direction God has not instructed, He will move away. Why? Because through our actions we imply we do not trust God.
In conclusion, God wants you to move in the direction He ordains. What influences your direction is whether you trust God, and those sent by Him. Trust in His teachings for they are truth. Do not follow a direction that has not been instituted by God. The point is, believe in God and what He says even if its difficult. That is where your salvation is. Salvation is not in what we think or believe or in the false reports we receive, but it is when we believe in what God says. It is when we independently think and trust in God. God does not make a mistake. When we trust in God, we earn ourselves the right to inherit the Kingdom of God.