Our last Sunday school lesson of 2008 was very instructive. It looked at the story of twelve men sent by the Israelites to Canaan to spy out the land and bring back a report. In a way, we could say that the Israelites were looking for a window into the future. What would this new land be like? Would it be fruitful? Are there hidden dangers there? These anxieties came despite the backdrop of God’s promise to give them the land for an inheritance, and His description of Canaan as a land “flowing with milk and honey.”
The spies carried out their assignment and duly came back with a report confirming everything God had promised. They said: “..and surely it flowed with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.” Num. 13:27 However, ten of the twelve went beyond their remit and delivered a frightening and discouraging description of the inhabitants of the land causing commotion and consternation in the camp. This was to have a devastating effect on the future of generations of Israelites who, through this faithless report, were going to miss entry to the Promised Land.
The “facts” were as they reported. There were indeed “giants” living in the land. Their interpretation of the fact was faulty. They were not expected to go against the giants “in their own strength”. God, as always, had planned their victory way ahead of their observation of the “facts”. Please note that two of their number, Caleb and Joshua, refused to be intimidated by the facts. With eyes of faith, they saw beyond the giants to the “possession of the land”. Their rallying cry was “Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.” Num. 13:30
This lesson made me ponder, as we travel through these early days of 2009, about what we as children of God can see ahead. The “facts” of the credit crunch and global depression of great economies stare us in the face. The predictions of all our economic gurus agree on one inescapable fact. There is trouble ahead! The continuing collapse of many blue-chip companies that have been around for centuries and the failures of banks and other financial institutions testify to the accuracy of their predictions.
Yet, our God is still on the throne! Hallelujah!! He still “rules in the affairs of men!” Praise the Lord!
I know that 2009 will be an eventful year. There is no doubt about that. I am expecting great things that God will do. “For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11
I know that God will chart our way through the stormy waters ahead. Our Captain is the Master of the waves. With Jesus in the boat with us, we have no cause for alarm. I see great possibilities ahead. New jobs and promotions will come, even in the midst of a shrinking job market. I see great Christians moving into a greater dimension in 2009.
I just wonder what you can see with your eyes of faith this new year.