Faith is now. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1) Faith is present tense. However, we should also look back at what God has done and tell of His wondrous deeds. The psalmist often recalled God's miracles, as in Psalm 66. Come and see the works of God: he is terrible in his doing toward the children of men. He turned the sea into dry land: they went through the flood on foot: there did we rejoice in him (Psalm 66:5-6). Our faith should increase as we read Biblical accounts of what God has done. We can also learn from mistakes that God’s people made that kept them from receiving all of God’s blessings.
Fear Spreads Fast
The writer of Hebrews issued a stern warning to us.
Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. (Hebrews 3:8-10)
Shortly after God miraculously delivered Israel from bondage in Egypt with not one feeble person among them, after He split the Red Sea and supernaturally protected and provided for them, the Israelites started to complain. Luke recounted it in the book of Acts. To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt, Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him (Acts 7:39-40).
God, in His great mercy, kept them alive in the desert. Finally, when they got to the edge of the edge of the Promised Land, God told them to send a man from each of the 12 tribes to look at the land before they all entered.
Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them. (Numbers 13:2)
God didn’t ask the 12 representatives for their opinions about whether they could take the land. God already said He had given it to them. Leader – when God says He’s giving you something, don’t question it. Pay no attention to anyone who tries to stop it from happening. Nobody is big enough to stop God, but 10 of the 12 spies thought the inhabitants of the land were.
But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, The land, through which we have go search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight. (Numbers 13:31-33)
Fear is contagious. The ten cynical spies got the entire nation of Israel stirred up. Everyone – except Joshua, Caleb, and Moses - was filled with unbelief. Leader - be cautious of who
you put in front of your team. Fear and unbelief spread faster than any sickness or disease.
Enter God’s Rest
Fear produced doubt in the Israelites, and their attitude provoked God. Why? Because without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Fear and doubt hardened the Israelites’ hearts to the point that they didn’t believe God’s promise to give them the land. God wanted to bless them, but their unbelief kept them from receiving.
Fear may come upon you - but even in daunting circumstances - keep your heart soft towards God. Don't harden your heart by thinking your situation is too big for God. Is any thing too hard for the Lord? (Genesis 18:14) The answer is, “No. Nothing is too hard for God.”
The people of Israel chose fear over faith. Instead of entering God’s rest, they worried and doubted and didn’t get to enjoy God’s blessings in the Promised Land.
So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest. Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God (Hebrews 3:11-12).
The rest of God is God's provision. It is healing, financial, and every physical need. Rest provides peace and joy for your mind, will, and emotions. God's rest touches our spirits, too, since it includes salvation and eternal life. God's rest is the place of faith. Choose to believe God's promises – even when things look bleak. Stand on God's Word and don't back down, leader! You will enter God’s rest and enjoy God’s best!