The book of Deuteronomy is not one that I regularly study, but today I felt impressed to do so and I found a blessing that I would like to share.
This blessing was based on the promise in 1 Corinthians 10:11 that these things happened to the Israelites is an example for us today in the last days. This text opened my eyes to the fact that we, new Israel, last day followers of God parallel the Israelites.
The books of Moses according to Ray Stedman, are visual aids for our own spiritual life. For in the same way that the Israelites found themselves slaves in Egypt, we find ourselves slaves to sin. In the same way that the Israelites we miraculously delivered from Egypt, we have been miraculously delivered from sin. The Israelites were promised a Land, but in order to receive that promised land they had to work, conversely, we have been promised a land, and in order to receive that promise we must work. The Israelites had to physically overcome the people of their land, whereas we are tasked by Jesus in Matthew 28:19 to spiritually overcome the people of this land by teaching them about the good news of Jesus.
As the Israelites were to move forward they became fearful, and their lack of faith caused them to spend 40 years wandering in the wilderness, until everyone of that generation had died. They did not believe they could perform the work necessary to receive the promise of the Lord, even though it was a promise, of the Lord. Do we lack faith? Are we skeptical in our ministry, succumbing to worry, revealing a lack of faith in promulgating the gospel of Christ, as Jesus commanded. The older generation of Israelites who questioned Joshua and Caleb in that initial board meeting was prevented from seeing the Promised Land. I certainly do not want to be prevented from my promise because of lack of faith, and I am sure you do not either.
After reading the first few chapters of Deuteronomy two words rang out to me in my head. FEAR NOT! God continually told them not to fear. To me this implies that they must have been fearful, worrisome, and anxious about their mission to take over the land. They did not exude confidence in their task? They sound a little like us today?
If indeed we are the new Israel, and we are to be spiritual warriors that tell the world about the love of Jesus, then this message applies to us too. God does not want us to fear (Deuteronomy 31:6), he is with us, and he will not fail us.
When it comes to telling other of the love of God we often question ourselves saying things like, “this person will never listen” “they do not want to hear anything about God”. But when we do that we act as if it is us telling them. When the Israelites went into battle they went under the guidance of God, in faith. We should do the same. When we are led by God we should have no fear, for God will fight our battles for us, whether they are physical or mental.
Today I want to examine myself and ask myself a question. If I was back in that day would I have been amongst the doubters that were sentenced to roam the wilderness until they died? Or would I have been Joshua and Caleb. Joshua and Caleb were 2 out of an innumerable multitude. That percentage is tiny. How can we be among that tiny percentage that has the faith to see the promise of the Lord? It also lets me know that when you are among that tiny percentage you will face opposition of many. But do not fear, because God says so, he says that YOU can do ALL things, through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13).