The children of Israel had lived in Egypt 430 years, the last years as slaves. As the yoke of slavery grew heavier, so too did their desire to return to their old homeland. Finally, under Moses’ direct leadership they fled Egypt, wandered across a wilderness, and arrived at the edge of that Promised Land. They had experienced release from Egypt, the miracle of deliverance at the Red Sea, and other miracles showing God’s care and power.

Now, on the edge of the Promised Land, 12 spies were sent ahead to find out about the land and the people who occupied it. After 40 days, they returned, carrying with them reports of a land filled with bounty and wonder. Two, Joshua and Caleb, urged the people to trust the Lord and enter the land. However, 10 of them reported that the land was occupied by giants who were too strong to be defeated. Their message: “Don’t go. We can’t do this.” And in an instant, they forgot the miracles and the power of God that had led them to the edge of amazing things. As Max Lucado, the Christian author, put it, “the people forgot the promise and focused on the fear.”

He put the entire nation in time out for nearly 40 years. They wandered in circles dealing with the same heat, rocks and snakes. And God used each day to teach His people how and why they needed to trust him. Daily, he provided manna, a miracle food to keep them alive. They learned they had to trust him each day to provide what they needed. One day at a time.

After 40 years, the Lord decided the people had learned. Joshua, one of those scouts, was the man who led them in. God’s people experienced what they never could have imagined.

Are you like the Children of Israel? Are you living your life aware of the leadership of the Lord but afraid of the giants in front of you? Is fear of failure, the unknown, or the breaking of the habits of a sinful life, stopping you from entering your promised land?

If so, then trust the Lord on a daily basis and follow him and know that you are on the edge of amazing things!

Wirsing is the senior pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Bloomington. Contact him at tcw1@trinluth.org.

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