The Israelites. God's chosen people, freed from their captivity in Egypt.
They were told there was a land flowing with milk and honey that awaited them. It was available to every last one of them.
But some of them never saw the fulfillment of that promise.
Hebrews 3:17 states that many of them never made it all the way; Instead, "their carcasses fell in the desert."
They fell in the desert. As in, the desert in which they wandered, the desert that was just short of the promised land. They died without experiencing the place of blessing--They perished before they tasted of the milk and honey.
This has been on my mind the last few days, and I think I'm realizing that
GOD'S OFFER OF THE PROMISED LAND WAS CERTAIN. BUT THEIR ARRIVAL THERE WAS NOT.
What got in the way? Disbelief. Ingratitude. Persistent rebellion. Pervasive disobedience. Forgetting the One who made a way for their deliverance.
Even Moses never saw the Promised Land. Obviously he was loved by the LORD and was used by God to lead the deliverance of His people (Can you imagine being chosen to be in on that?!?) But later in the desert when the Israelites needed water to drink, God instructed Moses to speak to a rock and was told the water would gush out of it. Instead, Moses struck the rock with his staff rather than merely speaking to it. And that one act of disbelief cost Moses dearly.
"Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron: 'Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them'" (Numbers 20:12).
It got me wondering--What promises has God placed before us--promises that are absolutely AVAILABLE to us but not certainly ours if our hearts remain bent on disbelief, rebellion, ingratitude, and forgetting the One who insured our deliverance? Is there milk and honey that you and I are meant to taste, blessings that He most certainly has in store for us, if we will only trust and obey? Absolutely. But what if our hearts are set on not trusting, nor obeying--will we still taste of what He holds in store?
I'm not saying that we can somehow disqualify ourselves from every earthly blessing from God if we stumble and fall, if our hearts grow weary or if we find ourselves questioning at times. But I think we can all agree that our sin holds consequences. I'll be the first in line to thank God for giving me what I IN NO WAY deserved, and for not doling out the punishment I most certainly DID deserve. God is gracious beyond our understanding, and His heart is tendered and moved to mercy by penitent hearts. But there are lasting ramifications when we do not believe the One who has said, "BELIEVE ME."
This is a bit of a tough pill to swallow, but the past few days I feel like the Holy Spirit has been speaking to my heart, "Believe Me that there were ones who fell in the desert. They didn't all see the Promised Land." And honestly, doesn't it kind of make sense? I mean, if we believe that there are blessings in store when we hold unswervingly to our faith and believe God...
...then doesn't it stand to reason that we risk missing out on certain blessings if we do not believe Him?