Trust God’s Will
APRIL 25, 2023
God does not trick his people. God’s future for us is a gift, not a threat.
We have no reason to fear whatever God wills for us.
God often calls us to trust him for our futures even though we cannot picture where we are going or how things will turn out. Can we trust God at such times?
Israel could. Israel had plenty of reasons to trust God.
During the time of their enslavement in Egypt, God had fulfilled his promise to Abraham to multiply them as many as the stars in the sky. They had become the size of a nation.
They had seen God use his power on their behalf. They witnessed the plagues in Egypt. They walked through the Red Sea on dry ground. They saw the mighty Egyptian army destroyed.
They had been lovingly cared for by God as he fed them with manna and miraculously provided water.
They had been shielded from the hot sun during the day by the pillar of cloud and protected from enemies at night by the pillar of fire.
And, they had received grace and mercy from God after their idolatry with the golden calf.
God had been faithful to them, provided for them, protected them, defeated their enemies, and he had been gracious to them. They had many reasons to trust him.
But when they came to Kadesh-Barnea they faltered.
“Everything had been done on the part of God and Moses to bring Israel speedily and safely to the land of promise.”  All they had to do was move forward, enter the Land, and receive the gift of God. But they hesitated. They wanted more information. They asked that spies be sent in to gather intelligence on what awaited them there.
After receiving the report of the spies—”The people who dwell in the land are strong. The cities are fortified and very large. The Nephilim are there. We seem like grasshoppers to them”—their trust in God evaporated.
They could not envision how this could possibly turn out well. And because they could not see a way to defeat those strong people in those great cities, they thought that there must not be a way. Trusting God for an unknown future is often difficult and it was for these people.
But they could have. They could have trusted God. They had every reason to do so.
After leaving Egypt God led Israel to Mount Sinai. There they received the law, the structure, and the organization that would make them a nation. After a year at Sinai, it was time to leave, and God commanded Israel to move (Numbers 10:11-12).
He led them up through the Sinai Peninsula, through the wilderness of Paran, and to Kadesh-Barnea, the western edge of the Promised Land. There God told them everything they needed to know to be successful.
“Do not be afraid. Do what I say. Trust me. It will be okay.”
“You have come to the hill country of the Amorites, which the LORD your God is giving us. See, the LORD your God has set the land before you. Go up, take possession, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has told you. ‘Do not fear or be dismayed’” (Deuteronomy 1:20-21).
The Land was a promise made to Abraham and through him and the Patriarchs to these people. It was God’s gift, and they could trust that whatever gift God gave to them would be good.
Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount that earthly fathers know how to give good gifts to their children. They will not give their children a stone when asked for bread or a snake when asked for fish. He said, “How much more will your Father who is in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matt. 7:11).
Fear of the future is natural, but we must not give in to it. When facing an uncertain future, we must turn to God’s word and be reminded of his promises. We must fill our hearts and minds with his assurance of good and let them saturate our souls, promises like Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for your welfare, and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
God knew what he commanded Israel was hard and was going to require big trust. So, he said to them, “Do not fear or be dismayed” (Deut. 1:26).
But they hesitated. They wanted more details. They wanted to know what trusting and obeying God would require of them before they were willing to commit to following him.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said “Take the first step in faith. You don’t need to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
The Israelites were not willing to do that. They were not willing to take a step in faith. They said to Moses that they wanted to examine the situation more carefully so that they would know what they were facing.
“Let us send men before us, that they may explore the land for us and bring us word again of the way by which we must go up and the cities into which we shall come” (Deut. 1:22). Moses agreed and selected one man from each tribe to go up and scout the land.
“God condescended and allowed Moses to send the spies. But their obvious intent was not to be more trusting of God, but to reserve their trust until they could understand exactly how God was going to work.”
They would not obey God unless they knew the details of what they were getting into. But that is not trust. It is the nature of trust to take the next step without knowing the details. Trust that extends only to the limit of sight and knowledge is not trust.
Trust is not a matter of what but of whom. It is not a matter of knowing what will happen and deciding that you are willing to take the step. Trust is a matter of taking the step because of who is asking you to do so. It is a matter of trusting that because God has been faithful in the past that he will be faithful in the next step.
God has been good to us, and God will be good to us. God does not trick his people. God’s future for us is a gift, not a threat. We have no reason to fear whatever God wills for us.
Adapted from Deuteronomy: Love and Grace in the Law of God – A Commentary for Everyone available on Amazon.com.