I think that one of the biggest tragedies in all of the Bible is the story that happens early on in the nation of Israel’s history as they approached the Promised Land for the first time. Exodus tells the story of how the Israelite people escaped Egypt, illustrating the miraculous things that God did and what the people experienced as they escaped. Later, Numbers 13 describes the Israelites as they stand on the cusp of that place that God was bringing them to—the Promised Land.
At God’s command, Moses sends twelve men into the land to check it out and see if it’s good. They find that this place would be perfect for them. The land is fertile. There’s water. There’s the ability to raise livestock—they describe it as “flowing with milk and honey.” But there’s also a real problem. There are literally giants in the land. There are people there already who look bigger and stronger and more fierce than the Israelites. So they report all this to Moses, and as they do so, one of the twelve men, Caleb, says “Lets attack! We can do it. The Lord our God is on our side, it doesn’t matter what stands against us.” But ten of the others begin spreading a bad report among the people. “There are giants in the land! We’ll be destroyed. There’s no way we can win!” The people begin to grumble and lose heart. Some even say “We should go back to Egypt.” And there’s almost a total rebellion against Moses.
So what happens? The Israelites don’t attack. They don’t enter in. Instead, they end up wandering in the desert for forty years and that entire generation dies out! They miss God’s best. This was the same generation that had seen the waters part, the pillar of fire and cloud and the miracles of God. Yet, they still refused to trust God when they were faced with that next big challenge. After all the things they had seen, how could they refuse to trust him in that moment? What a tragedy.
A whole lifetime can pass a person by without them stepping out to accomplish the things that they were born to do.
So what does it look like to trust God?
1. Trusting God means taking courageous steps of obedience.
Being willing to trust God means that we have to sometimes take steps that would be considered a risk. That’s what it means to trust. I remember years ago stepping out in faith to go and serve in my first full-time ministry position. I had been serving in ministry for years, but always bi-vocationally (I had to work a job outside of the church). A time came when my wife and I felt like God was calling us to trust him and take a full-time position on the other side of the country. It was scary, but we did it. It was certainly difficult moving to California where we didn’t know anyone, but we felt strongly that God had called us to that area for that season, so we went.
2. Trusting God usually means letting go of control.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
One of the hardest things for us to do in life in any area can be to allow someone else to have control and take our hands off of it. And yet the whole idea of trusting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior means that he’s the one who’s in charge. We give control over to him.
That does not mean that we ignore problems, or that we pretend like things aren’t happening. It’s not at all an excuse to shirk responsibilities. It doesn’t mean that we aren’t called to work and be diligent in our lives.
Instead it means that as we work we trust God for the outcome. As we seek him, as we pray, as we are diligent in the things that he has called us to do, as we live a life of faithfulness and following him, we trust him for the consequences.
Are there some courageous steps that God is calling you to take? Is there an area of your life where God is calling you to give up control? If you think so, or even if you think “maybe,” I encourage you to take some time and be still and quiet before God, allowing him to minister to you.
May God bless you in all you do!