Trust God and move forward

Published 9:31 pm Friday, February 5, 2016

By Dr. Thurman R. Hayes Jr.

The great Gen. Stonewall Jackson once said, “Never take counsel of your fears.” Listening to your fear, rather than to God, is always a bad thing. It can lead to catastrophically bad decisions.

That was the case for the Israelites in Numbers 14. God had delivered them from slavery in Egypt, performing miracle after miracle in the process. He had opened the Red Sea for them to cross on dry land.

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But just as they prepared to cross the Jordan River and enter the promised land, they blinked. They turned back. Why? It was because of fear and unbelief. Let’s look at this story and see what we can learn from it.

As they approached the promised land, Moses sent 12 Hebrew spies to scout things out. They came back and reported that it was a land “flowing with milk and honey.” In other words, it was fertile and wonderful beyond their imaginations.

But 10 of the 12 spies recommended that they not enter the land. Why? It was because of their fear of man. They reported that the cities of the promised land were heavily fortified, and the people there were like giants.

They exaggerated the strength of the enemy and minimized the strength of God. Their report never even mentioned God.

By contrast, two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, recommended that they march boldly into the promised land. They had seen the same things as the 10, yet they came to the opposite conclusion. Why? Faith in God.

They knew that God had promised this land to the Jewish people and that He would give it to them. All they had to do was act in faith, and He would take care of the opposition.

If you know your Bible, you know what happened. The people took the advice of the 10 unbelieving spies and rejected the advice of Caleb and Joshua. But in reality, they weren’t rejecting Caleb and Joshua — they were rejecting God. As a result, they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years.

How often do we refuse to trust God and sentence ourselves to wilderness wanderings? How often do we get to the edge of the Jordan and blink?

The Christian life is a life of faith. Not only are we saved by grace through faith, but we must also live the Christian life that way if we are ever going to make an impact for him.

When you read the four gospels, what kind of people delight the heart of Jesus? Those who simply trust him. But trust often seems risky, and most people are prone to play it safe. But you can forget about ever making a significant impact for God that way.

As Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please him.”

God is looking for men and women who will put themselves out there and trust him. The next time you get to the edge of the Jordan, don’t hesitate. Don’t play it safe. Trust the Lord and move forward.

As Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”

Jesus died for your sins. He has risen from the dead. He has great plans to use you. Trust him and move forward.

Dr. Thurman R. Hayes is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.