The Lord had instructed Moses to send 12 spies into Canaan, but it was only Caleb and Joshua who urged the people to go in and conquer the Promised Land. Which is very odd if you look at the other 10 men’s names and their meanings…remembering all these young men had been born as God directed the Jews in the wilderness for 40 years. Their names included – God hears, God endows, God redeems, God saves, God is my deliverance, God is my kinsman. For in the end, all their strong, valiant names couldn’t help them overcome fear. And despite hearing about God’s covenant with Israel all their life, they only saw adversity.
God called us for His own reasons by the wooing of the Holy Spirit, through the Gospel. The plan and purpose for your life was ingeniously created before the beginning of time. You might think God’s plan and purpose for you is only some lofty ideal…more concept than practicality. But God uses everything for our good. He uses the consequences that happen when we sin to disciple and shape us into a better person. He uses the drudgery of dull mundane tasks, the interactions with strangers, and the simple acts of kindness we do to conform us closer to His image. There is not one thing you’ll do today that hasn’t already passed through God’s hands first and will be used for your good.
The biggest cripplers of our Christian walk are fear and doubt. They effectively incapacitate and render us useless for the Lord, and are the favorite tools in Satan’s arsenal. God says, “Fear not!”, but instead, our eyes are fixated on the trouble around us and we freeze – paralyzed in fear. He says, “The battle is Mine not yours”, but we doubt, and surrender before we’ve even started to fight. When we operate in fear and doubt, we’re rejecting and denying God and His power. And even today if I asked you, there’s probably something that fear and doubt are holding you back from doing in your life. Satan loves fear and doubt…but he’s also anxious…for he knows that if Believers would conquer their inner doubt and fear and grasp a hold of God’s truths…they could change the world for Christ.
Why do some decisions come easier than others? And why are there times when we are so indecisive and timid we can’t pull the trigger on anything? John 14:27 tells us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” For it’s when we allow our emotions to rule us, we walk around, wringing our hands and crying, “Woe is me!” over the smallest decision. Couple that with fear of the unknown, and it’s amazing we make choices at all. Major life decisions will face all of us, but it’s only after seeking God’s counsel first and receiving His peace that we can confidently make the best choice.
God is our only reliable stronghold in the world today. He is the fortress we can retreat to when fear over takes us. He is our rescuer when wickedness and oppression take the very breath from us. For God is the only rock we can put our absolute trust in…the only refuge we can run to for safety.
If you’ve lost a spouse or gone through a divorce…you know exactly how it feels. The loneliness and isolation are only compounded by the awkwardness of well-meaning friends. Add to that the strict view of some Churches on divorce…you may have even been asked to leave your Church family all together. So you try to cope with your loss as best as you can…struggling with fear and depression and feelings of self-defeat and failure. But Isaiah is telling you here that your Creator, God Almighty, is your husband (or spouse). He is your Kinsman-Redeemer with a covenantal tie of love and loyalty only to you. With God as your husband, there’s no room anymore for those negative emotions of loss, shame, or rejection to fill your mind. Yes, you may not be married in the legal sense…but you are espoused by a loving and faithful God.
As a Believer, you have been given the Spirit of adoption and strength. No longer are you an orphan, fearful of tomorrow. No longer are you a slave to anxiety or dread, for you have been embraced by your Heavenly Father…taken in as family and becoming a joint heir with Jesus.