A story of faith. A story of those who believe in a destiny designed by God. It’s also a story of faithlessness. It’s also a story of rebelling and paying the price for that rebellion. It all takes place in Numbers 14.
Four hundred years they had been in captivity, slaves in a country not their own. A man sent from God came to the leader of that country and said, “Let my people go.” The leader didn’t want to lose a valuable resource–slaves to do their bidding. Plagues visited the country until the leader said, “Take your people and go.” So, they went.
On the pilgrimage from the land that was not their own, their pursuers perished at the hand of God. When they were hungry, God rained down food for them. When they were thirsty, water flowed from rocks. All along the way, they were protected. Now it was time to enter the land God promised to them.
Fear settled over the people. Why fearful? Couldn’t they see that they had been protected and cared for? Now, at the moment of great blessing, they pull back. Trust fails them. God’s not as great and good as they suppose. He’s just brought them here to this wasteland to perish. Or so they thought.
Nothing suited them. Two of the 12 spies they sent to look this promised land over were against turning back to slavery and the land that was not their own. The people want to kill them. God has had enough. He would destroy this group of stiff-necked disbelievers and find another group for his purpose. When they heard that, they were ready to change their tune. All of a sudden they were ready to go to the promised land. But this time they would go without God–but there is no way to the promised land except through God. A conundrum for sure.
Their leader pleads for them not to be destroyed. He calls on God’s mercy for this motley bunch. God relents but He also says, “ I will not destroy them but they will not see the promised land. They will die wandering around in circles.”
Most people know that God exists. Many have even seen God working in people’s lives. Some attend churches. They’re good people but what happens when the going gets rough? Surely walking out of Egypt on the way to the promised land wasn’t easy. Neither is living in a world that is cursed with sin. Joshua 24:15 says, “…choose you this day whom you will serve…” God didn’t promise people a rose garden. Godly people are an enduring lot.
There’s a race to be won. (I Corinthians 9:24) Obtaining the prize takes strivers who give no thought to quitting. The ones who left Egypt quit. And they were only a stone’s throw from heaven. How sad.
You can visit us at our website swedenchurch.com. It is operational and complete with audios of the sermons. Pastor Joshua Strong can also be heard on our radio program which is on KKOZ 92.1 FM at 8:05 a.m. Sunday mornings. Better yet, come and hear Brother Josh live. Sunday morning service begins at 11 a.m. (Sunday school is at 10 a.m.) and evening service begins at 6 p.m. Bible study is Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m. except for our business meeting which is held the second Wednesday of each month. Sweden Church is east of Ava about 10 miles on Highway 14 and then left onto 14-219 a quarter-mile. Services are at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sundays.