It feels like ages since I posted last. My laptop started heading towards that big bright light. After much research, prayer, and more research, I’ve got my new laptop!
So, now that I am back, where do I begin? Well, after what I’ve been through, the main thing that’s been on my mind is patience and waiting on God. Two of the hardest parts of the Christian life. It doesn’t and never will come easy. But God always has perfect timing. We just have to wait and see what He has planned.
I’m writing a book and it requires much research, as any book does. My book covers different people in the Bible who overcame trials and obstacles, but I am not going into too much detail on that right now. The research has taken me, for one of my persons of interest, into the books of Genesis through Joshua. And it begins in Genesis 15, where we see the ultimate story of waiting on God.
There are times in our life when we pray for something for weeks, months, or even years before God says “no” “yes” or “just wait.”
When we feel God is silent during those times, He is working for our good. Because when we pray for something, we don’t know God’s higher plan or will for us. Sometimes things have to happen before we are blest with relief or answers.
That lesson is not clearer than the story of Abraham and the Promise Land. It all begins in Genesis 15 and the Abrahamic Covenant.
Genesis 15:1-2, 4-5
After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying,
“Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”
2 But Abram said, “Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”
4 And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” 5 Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”
Abraham and his wife Sarah were barren, but they were getting on in years and I’m sure Abraham might have been getting a little anxious. Sarah too.
And then for God to tell Abraham that his descendants would equal the stars, that was going to take a lot of faith. How could just one heir bring about this? But Abraham had faith.
6 And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.
While Abraham had faith in this matter, I’m sure he had to wonder how it was going to happen and when. Abraham was in his late 70s to early 80s when God informed him of this news. So, he must have thought that his heir would be born soon. As Sarah too was getting on in years. But God was in no hurry to fulfill His promise because it was all part of a much bigger plan.
As mortals, we tend to only see the little details, and God sees the much bigger picture. Monday as my mom was going to go to work, she went to turn the car on only to discover the starter had died. And she had to stay home. Now, all we saw was frustration, but from God’s point of view, He might have prevented her from a possible accident. When frustrating delays happen, we never know what God is possibly protecting us from. We don’t see God’s big picture, that is where faith and trust come in.
When God told Abraham that he would have an heir, He also told Abraham what his descendants would endure in the future.
In verse 16 of Genesis 15, we are introduced to the Amorites, also known as the Canaanites.
16 But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
The Amorites were a violent, depraved, pagan culture. Their pursuit of everything evil had gotten so out of hand, that God condemned them, and ordered the Israelites to wipe them from the face of the earth. (Deuteronomy 20:16-18)
The Amorites had been corrupt since the days of Abraham; their evil lifestyle was the very reason God had granted Abraham and his heirs right to the land.
And this plan of action began with one boy: Isaac. Abraham’s heir; born to him when he was 100 years old.
Now, Abraham and his descendants would possess the land as soon as the wickedness of the Amorites was complete. But we have to consider the context around this verse because verse 13 tells Abraham that his descendants would be afflicted for 400 years. That would take place in Egypt.
13 Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. 14 And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions.
Egypt, the land where Joseph was sold to, where eventually Joseph’s family would end up due to the famine that God used Joseph to predict, and where they would become slaves.
One might wonder why? Why go through all these steps? Isaac, Joseph, slavery, 400+ years of generation after generation being born and dying captive in Egypt.
God could have easily wiped the Amorites from existence, simply given Isaac to Abraham instead of waiting nearly 25 years.
But where are the lessons from that? If God always gives us easy times, what we need and want immediately, there would be no lessons of faith. Or trusting God through hard times, no growth from the good and the bad times.
Who’s to say that Abraham’s life and faith didn’t lead others to believe during his lifetime? During the 10 plagues in Egypt, maybe some of the Egyptians came to believe.
Sometimes we have to go through hard times for reasons unknown to us. In Exodus 12, we find The Exodus and the release of the Israelites.
40 Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years.
41 And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years—on that very same day—it came to pass that all the armies of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.
Everything was going well for the Israelites, they were free, but they were soon pursued by Pharaoh and his armies. It was as if the Children of Israel forgot who was on their side
10 And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord. 11 Then they said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? …
It is just like it in our lives. We get through one trial, soon after the relief of getting through it, along comes another, and we fall to pieces. But, God never will and never has led us into a situation alone and let us fend for ourselves. He is always there. Moses was quick to calm the Israelites
13 And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today….
14 The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
The Lord then used Moses to part the Red Sea and the nation of Israel walked through it on dry land.
Abraham’s descendants were no longer an extended family. Israel’s population had grown from the 70 who entered Egypt with Jacob (Joseph’s father), to almost two million Israelites who left with Moses.
Once everyone crossed over, God reopened the sea and it crushed Pharaoh and his army.
Skipping ahead to Numbers 13, the Children of Israel are on the very threshold of the Promised Land. And Moses sent 12 spies into the land of Canaan. Ten of the spies came back and exaggerated the dangers of the land; they sought to stir up the People of Israel and instill fear in them.
Because of that generation’s stubbornness and persistent unbelief, everyone over the age of twenty was prohibited from entering the Promised Land. And one might say that’s a bit harsh, but the Children of Israel had been complaining and doubting too long, and because of it, God would punish.
But there were two significant exceptions. Joshua and Caleb were going to be able to enter the Promised Land. These two men were the other two spies that made up the 12. They had returned and told the people and Moses that the land was good and they were confident the Lord would deliver into their hands.
The Children of Israel did not listen to Joshua and Celeb, they balked at the idea of conquering the Land.
The entire nation staged a mutiny against Moses and God. That was the final straw; God punished the generation by not allowing them into the Promised Land. But making them wander in the wilderness for 40 years. In the end, the whole generation (except Joshua and Caleb) were buried in the scattered graves in the wilderness.
Sometimes we don’t wait on God, we get impatient, forget how far we’ve come, and plow ahead without thinking. We usually end up falling flat on our faces. That’s God’s way of saying “See? If you had just waited and trusted, it would have been just fine.”
Waiting on God is difficult, but He always has a big picture plan. This part of Biblical History makes it clear, everything that happened, occurred in God’s timeline. He led the Nation of Israel to many victories when they fully trusted and had faith in God. But when they took their eyes off God, doubted and trusted in other sources, they ultimately would fail. We can’t rush God we just have to wait and trust God.
The Lord will fight for you, you only need to be still.