So….Mikel and I had 3 kids in 3-1/2 years. And then 8 years of chaos ensued. When our daughter was a year or two old, we decided to get away for a couple nights down in Hocking Hills. The whole trip should have taken 3’ish hours.
Notice I said, “Should have…”
We had just gotten a new GPS for Christmas and we couldn’t wait to try it out. No more maps! I wouldn’t have to navigate…I could take a nap if I wanted. No more getting lost. Yay! GPS!
We pretty much knew how to start out on the trip, which way to go and what not. Our new little friend was leading us in a bit of a different direction to start than we would have gone, but we decided to “give ourselves to the GPS” and followed it’s advice.
It was a bit confusing, actually. Every time we got on a highway, it directed us to get off. Instead of taking us on main roads, we were going through small towns and housing developments.
I was just thrilled to be alone with Mikel without the kids fighting in the back seat. So what it’s taking us a touch longer to get there. We’re alone. Right?
But he wasn’t so thrilled. At one point, I couldn’t help laughing hysterically. We were in a lovely neighborhood with lavish houses. One even had a huge fountain in the front yard.
And Mikel stopped and pulled over and looked painstakingly at the GPS and in a cry of desperate frustration said, “Where are you taking me?????”
We started looking at it a bit more closely and found what they call avoidances. You can tell it to avoid highways and toll roads and interstates. And do you know what? Yep. You guessed it. Every single one was check marked.
Every. Single. One.
Instead of taking 3’ish hours to get there, it took almost 8. We could have driven to Virginia Beach in the time it took us to get to Hocking Hills. And it was our own fault. Ugh!
Normally it takes only eleven days to travel from Mount Sinai to Kadesh-barnea, going by way of Mount Seir. But forty years after the Israelites left Egypt, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses addressed the people of Israel, telling them everything the Lord had commanded him to say. (Deuteronomy 1:2-3)
Hmmmm…..11 days…..40 years. Wow! That’s quite a difference!
It took them an extra 39 years and 354 days to arrive at their destination. (Well….39 years and 314 days if you count the first time Moses was on the mountain with God getting the law for 40 days.)
But still – that’s quite a detour.
Why? Why did it take them so much longer?
It certainly wasn’t God’s original plan for them to take that long to get to the Promised Land. To wander around the desert, going by the same places, seeing the same landmarks…over and over and over again.
When He rescued them from Egypt, He was fully prepared to take them into the Promised Land right then and there.
THEY made it longer than it was supposed to be and harder than it needed to be by their unbelief. (See Numbers 13.)
Moses sent 12 spies into the Promised Land on a reconnaissance mission. He was looking for information. Looking for facts. What’s the fruit like? Are there walls? Is it heavily guarded?
And the first part of the report was just that. Facts. It wasn’t until they started mixing their fear-filled, doubt-saturated opinion in with the facts that the report turned evil.
When they interpreted those facts in comparison to their own strength and ability instead of through the filter of the miracle working God that promised, they doubted. They didn’t believe Him. And they stirred everyone else into fear and unbelief too.
And it cost them an extra 39 years and 354 days wandering around the desert. It even cost some of them the promise itself.
That entire generation that doubted God could do what He said He would do did not get to experience the promise. At all. Because of their doubt, they didn’t get to cross over into the blessing of the Lord.
They never got to step foot into the fulfillment of the promise, all because of unbelief, with the exception of two of them.
Joshua and Caleb were the only ones from that whole generation of people who got to experience the promise of God because they believed in the miracle working God. They believed if He said it He would do it. They had faith.
We made getting to Hocking Hills take a lot longer than it normally does. We made it a lot harder on ourselves. We could have been relaxing and sitting in the hot tub at our cabin hours earlier than we did. If those boxes hadn’t been checked, we could have given ourselves to the GPS and not have spent 4 extra, frustrating, unnecessary hours getting there.
And they could have ALL walked into that Promised Land 39 years and 354 days earlier than they did if they had unchecked the doubt boxes and given themselves to trust the One who had proved Himself faithful time and time and time again.
Faith isn’t difficult. It’s a matter of choosing to believe God. Choosing to believe He can and will do exactly what He promised. And acting accordingly.
Doubt limits God. Faith brings us into the promise.
He is faithful. Period. And He will do exactly what He said. You can trust Him.
Be not afraid. Only believe!