Numbers 13: Missing Out.
There are two sides to every coin. In the last post we looked at what it means to follow God wholeheartedly; in this one we’re going to look at what we miss out on when we say “no” to God’s plans for us. And before you start thinking this isn’t relevant to us, that Numbers 14 is just ancient history, stop and think again. By the time you read this, you’ll probably have already said no to God on something today, even if you didn’t realise it. Makes you wonder – what are we missing out on?
The Israelites knew exactly what they were missing out on. The spies had told them how good the Promised Land was, but that was before they then got bogged down in details about the barriers facing them. They knew they were giving up a chance to go into a land of their own, a secure home in a landscape flowing with milk and honey. And with what God spoke to Moses and Aaron in verses 27-35, they were also in no doubt about the consequences of their unbelief. They weren’t just missing out on something better – they were condemned to a pointless existence in the wilderness.
For forty years they were to wander in the desert, they and their children ‘suffering for your unfaithfulness’ (v. 33). There’s tragic irony in God’s just judgement. The Israelites would endure precisely what they feared would happen, being brought out of Egypt only to die in the desert (not because of God’s faithlessness, but because of their own), whilst the children they feared would be enslaved by their enemies would actually inherit the land they had forfeited (vv. 2-3, v. 31).
Sounds pretty harsh doesn’t it? Harsh, but perfectly just. Notice how the trouble-makers are dealt with more severely (v. 37)? That reminds me of what Jesus said about those who cause others to stumble (Mark 9:42). If there’s anything worse than saying no to God, it’s causing other people to do so as well.
It’s a grim passage, no mistake. But is this desert doom so very different from what a lot of us are doing? Many of us wander through a life of wilderness in the 21st-century simply because we too have said no to God. Are we just wandering about, fruitless and frustrated, when our own Promised Land lies just the other side of saying yes to God?
Now let’s be clear. If you’re in Christ, God isn’t ‘against you’ (v. 34; cf. Romans 8:31). And if you’re not a believer – God is still for you. He’s all for a relationship with you. So, I’m not saying that God is against us today. What I am saying is that we could miss out on so much.
So many of us settle for more of the same because we’re scared of where a change might lead. But we miss out on the breakthrough. You won’t see waters parted or walls come crumbling down or dreams come true or victory in the struggles of life unless you follow God wherever He leads. You might be called to follow Him into dark and difficult places, or against the giants of this life, but that’s exactly where He’ll do amazing things (Joshua 3:5).
FOMO is a common phrase these days – Fear Of Missing Out. My younger son Luke displays it all the time, getting dreadfully upset the moment he suspects he’s missing out on something fun or tasty. FOMO can be bad when it makes us paranoid or unable to enjoy what we have, but in a sense we should all cultivate a spiritual FOMO. We should all be wary of missing out on what God has for us.
What God has for you is infinitely better than you can imagine (Ephesians 3:20). And it’s well worth the scariness of stepping out in faith to claim it. Say yes to God, even if it’s scary or uncomfortable or seems impossible at the outset. What we need to eliminate is the fear of saying yes. FOSY
Saying yes to God unlocks His blessings. He so wants to bless us, and will pour out incredible blessing, but we have to want to receive it. Believing in what He says will allow us to enter into what God has for us. Faith is the key that opens the door to your best life.
What is God asking you to do, or where is He asking you to go? Is there something you’re saying no to God, big or small, intentionally or unintentionally? Ask for courage today to say yes, and to step into all that He has for you. Don’t miss out.
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