My husband and I were reminded yesterday—while in the middle of a very long, difficult season of delay, of seemingly unanswered prayers, of great concern for one of our children, of caring for an elderly parent grieving all his “losses,” of transition in church family—that man cannot thwart God’s plan for our lives.
I wanted to share with you all how God encouraged us, because I know that many of us carry the weight of shepherding with our husbands—in the middle of ALOT of life, in ourselves, in our families, and in the Body.
Just by way of context, remember that God was busy setting His people free from the Egyptians, and using, normal, yielded men, like Moses and Aaron to lead them. His people complained and moaned and turned to idols, increasing in anger against their leaders when things didn’t go their way. They wandered and rebelled for 40 years! God’s heart for His people was that they worship Him in freedom. He wanted them to DRAW NEAR and worship Him.
Exodus 33:7 says that everyone who sought the Lord went to the tent. Joshua would follow Moses and not leave him. He was hungry for God and wanted to hear Him speak. The Israelites were always quite content at WATCHING Moses go up to the tent of meeting, be spoken to by the Lord, and come back to share. Exodus 33:11 says, “The Lord used to speak to Moses like a man speaks to his friend.” They wanted to be close enough to him to receive God’s provision and “messages,” but not close enough to stop their grumbling and discontented behavior when things didn’t go their way. (Are we content watching/knowing others who press in and draw near, hoping we will be blessed by our proximity to them?) They did not PRESS IN nor DRAW NEAR to God for themselves.
Moses chose Joshua and Caleb, and others to go spy out the Promised Land. Remember? The “others” came back terrified of the people there and came back with a bad report. Joshua and Caleb pleaded and begged the congregation to not rebel against the Lord…to not fear the people in the land, and to trust the Lord. ”The Lord is with us!” Numbers 14:38 says this, “Of those men who went to spy out the land, only Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh remained alive.” It was said of Caleb, in Numbers 14:24 that, “he has a different spirit and has followed me fully.”
Henry Blackaby says, “The decision and disobedience of others will not cancel God’s will for you. Other people’s actions will affect you, but no one can prevent what God wants to do in and through you. Joshua and Caleb trusted God and yet were forced to wander in the wilderness for forty years because of the fear and disbelief of others.” Here is another amazing, practical truth Mr. Blackaby states, “Joshua and Caleb could not lead the people if they were in the Promised Land by themselves while the people were still wandering in the wilderness! God kept these leaders in a position where they could exert a godly influence upon their nation, and as a result they became models of spiritual leadership for generations to come.”
The takeaway…This was such an encouragement for my husband and I. We do not get to choose for ANYONE else…whether our parents, our children, our spouse, or our congregation, whether they will draw near to God and walk in obedience to Him. We are hit all the time by THAT REALITY, are we not? We must desire GOD, desire intimacy/worship, choosing Him, regardless of circumstances…pressing in…drawing near…so we may be humble truth tellers and display His glory. The Promised Land was not about a place. It was about relating with and worshipping God up close and walking in obedience. We may be like Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb–imperfect leaders, yielded to the Lord, affected by other people’s rebellion and wandering and destined by God to be a spiritual influence, right there, smack dab in the middle of the mess and wandering.
God’s plans will not be thwarted for those walking in humble obedience to Him. He is able to fulfill His plans for us when we are yielded to Him.