Thought For Today

I am so glad that you have found this site and I hope you will find encouragement and joy as you read through my thoughts on God, family and life.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Facing our Giants

Gayle, Anne, Nathaniel, Will and Abby
Recently Anne and I were sitting in an adult Sunday school class.  The pastor was talking about how the Israelites when leaving Egypt, (a place of slavery for them) were up against the Red Sea. (Exodus 14) The Pharaoh’s chariots were swiftly on their trail when Moses used his staff to part the Red Sea as God had instructed him to do, which allowed passage for the Israelites to go across safely.  Soon after, the Pharaoh’s chariots followed, but were swallowed up in the sea as it closed up behind the fleeing Israelites.  God made a way for his children to pass through the Red Sea, unharmed without even getting wet.

Later, when the children of Israel were about to enter the Promised Land, (Number 13:17) they first sent out spies into the land that God had given them.  10 spies came back and said that the land possessed giants and it would be impossible to conquer.  On the other hand, 2 other spies returned and said that with God, the land was theirs for the taking, and with that, these two spies praised God for this gift.  God’s people on the hand chose to believe the 10 spies rather than the two (Caleb and Joshua).  The Israelites then wanted to return to the land of Egypt.  They remembered getting 3 meals a day with a roof over their heads.  They saw the Promised Land as a death trap, which would be impossible to conquer.  In God’s anger he allowed them to wander for a whole generation in the desert, and for that unbelieving generation, to die in their disbelief. 

Will by the water.
During this point of the lesson my wife Anne spoke up.  “Do you know, in looking at your map pastor, the Israelites would not have been able to go back to Egypt even if they wanted to.  The Red Sea would have prevented them from crossing into Egypt.”
That thought never had crossed my mind in all the times reading this before.  Anne was right; they could not have crossed.  Then it dawned on me, “How many times do we as Christians see insurmountable odds in front of us, and we too want to go back to Egypt?”   This simple lesson was such a revelation to me.  In looking at different times in my life, I as well wanted to go back to Egypt, rather than believe and face my giants. 

God many times brings these giants into our lives with a hope that we, as Paul calls it, “A time to get off of milk as an infant Christian, and get going in eating meat as a growing Christian.”  (Hebrews 5:12) I can look at myself and see that many times I chose to see the challenge as a problem rather than as a gift.  My eyes were focused on heading back to Egypt in my feelings of defeat, rather than looking to our Lord for his strength and insight. 

As a growing Christian, God brings challenges into our lives not with the intent of causing us to stumble, but only to grow and trust in him more, and not only these things, but to bless us as well.  Caleb and Joshua’s eyes were on the promise that God would give them the victory, and eventually give them the land of “milk and honey”.  Their eyes were not focused on the problem, and on their own lack of strength and where with all, but on God alone.  They knew that in themselves they could not receive what God had already given them, if they were focused only on the challenge, rather than God.  I am realizing that for myself to grow as a Christian, I need to focus on Jesus rather than wanting to go back to Egypt (my past life of sin and walking in my strength alone).  Each day we are given the chance to see what is before us as a gift in growth and trust, or to turn and live in disbelief.

Where is your faith today?  Do you want to return to Egypt?  We can’t cross back over the Red Sea even if we wanted to.  God’s peace is found not in the absence of challenges and problems, it is found when we focus our eyes on our creator instead.
Are you wandering in the desert of unbelief and lack of trust in God?  We each are faced with giants in our lives, we can chose to look at our Savior for strength, guidance and growth, or chose to remain in the desert where we will never find peace.  God has given us the choice, the decision is ours to make.  Chose today to trust in God, he will lead you through to the Promised Land, and his peace will surround you on your journey with him. (Philippians 4:7)