S (Scripture): Numbers 14:1 Then all the community raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. 2 And all the Israelites murmured against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt, or if only we had perished in this wilderness! 3 Why has the Lord brought us into this land only to be killed by the sword, that our wives and our children should become plunder? Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” 4 So they said to one another, “Let’s appoint a leader and return to Egypt.”
5 Then Moses and Aaron fell down with their faces to the ground before the whole assembled community of the Israelites. 6 And Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, two of those who had investigated the land, tore their garments. 7 They said to the whole community of the Israelites, “The land we passed through to investigate is an exceedingly good land. 8 If the Lord delights in us, then he will bring us into this land and give it to us – a land that is flowing with milk and honey. 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord, and do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection has turned aside from them, but the Lord is with us. Do not fear them!”
O (Observation): Facing like what seems insurmountable odds, the Hebrew people would rather turn from the Promised Land and head back to the shackles they wore in Egypt. Joshua and Caleb tear their garments to show their frustration towards God’s people who are choosing logic over faith. As an act of intercessory prayer (and to stave off God’s wrath) Moses and Aaron fall prostrate on the ground and silently plead for mercy as the representatives of God’s insolent people.
The faith of God’s people is challenged in this moment. And they have failed. But not all.
A (Application): How many times have I chosen logic over faith? Quite a bit. But that’s not my Achille’s heel. Mine is one of self-doubt.
How could I accomplish something so insurmountable as serving as a pastor? How can I believe that God has chosen me for this particular vocation? What can I give of myself?
Notice: these are all the wrong questions.
Thanks to a baptismal calling that I have the chance to live into on a daily basis, I consider what this calling means for me and for others. I explore what God is saying to me and to other people. We listen together. We profess together. We hold one another accountable.
We are not perfect, but we have a God who is. We have a God who says, “Go for it. I am with you. Even to the ends of the earth, I will be there. You see that lush valley over there? That is yours. You will wander, and I will let you, but not forever. I will entice you back with grace and mercy…whether you realize it or not. So go! Take the next step. I will be with you.”
Let us hope that stepping forward will bring fruit and a new start. Let that new start begin today.
P (Prayer): Lord, you are a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Amen.
Bonus: Thy Word, by Amy Grant