A Step of Faith

New Hope, the church I have the privilege of leading, is facing a huge decision. We have the opportunity to move from our current location to a larger building and collaborate with a parachurch organization that is reaching hundreds of people per week.

As many know, a church community is not monolithic, but made up different people with different gifts and different capacities for change. In looking at such a huge move, I think there are many different things to analyze. Interestingly, different people ask different questions and different things are more important to some than others.

This process occurs in churches around the world as they try and discern what God's will is for them. I shared the following scripture with our leadership last month and I hope that helps you if you are trying to make a large decision.

Here's the context: The people of Israel are near the promised land of Canaan. This land was promised to them by God. God has already told them that he will provide for them and they will fulfill their role as a nation of priests for the world.

Numbers 13:1-3, 26-33
1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 "Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders."
3 So at the LORD's command Moses sent them out from the Desert of Paran.

26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 They gave Moses this account: "We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan."
30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it."
31 But the men who had gone up with him said, "We can't attack those people; they are stronger than we are." 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, "The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them."

You know the rest of the story. The fear led to their refusal to partake in what God had promised them. They ended up wandering in the desert for 40 years and none of the adults over 20 at the time of the disobedience, lived to see the promised land except two scouts how were faithful to God.

A couple of points:

1. The obstacles were real. The Anakites were real people who had a history of ruggedness. The presence of obstacles in itself should not be the main criteria for making a decision.

2. God rewards those who focus on his call and not the obstacle. What Caleb did was to focus on the will of God (taking the land) and not on the obstacles. To honor the obstacles above the will of God is idolatry.

3. Our goal is to discern the will of God and trust God for provisions. God knew that going into Canaan would be a test for the Israelites and we are regularly tested in our willingness to trust God.

Are you focusing on the will of God or the obstacles? What if the Apostle Paul focused on the hardship of his missionary journeys instead of the will of God? We would not have had the missionary movement that caused explosive expansion of the kingdom of God.

What God is calling for is courageous trust! This is faith without fear, but faith and boldness in the face of fear.

May God bless you as you discern the will of God,

Pastor M Traylor
Dr. M TraylorComment