One Step At A Time
In the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Numbers there is the story of twelve spies who went to scout the Promised Land for the Jews following their deliverance from Egypt. Of the twelve, only Joshua and Caleb gave positive reports. The remainder reported there was giants in the land and recommended they not go into it. The people listened to the ten and the Jews ended up wandering in the wilderness for forty years. The lesson for us today is that we should never let fear stand in the way of any assignment that God gives. Faith tells us that He provides every need to accomplish every task that He gives.
In the thirteenth chapter of First Samuel, there is another story that gives us an equally devastating response to fear. In Chapter 10:8, King Saul had been given directions by the Prophet Samuel to go to Gilgal and to remain there for seven days until he came. He said that when he came he would offer burnt offerings and sacrifice peace offerings. Then, he would tell Saul what he was to do. The seventh day came and Samuel was no where to be found. As the day passed, the threat of the Philistines created fear in the people and impatience in Saul. Finally, Saul took matters into his own hands and made the offerings and sacrifices himself. Immediately following his actions, Samuel arrived. For his disobedience Saul lost the privilege of his kingdom enduring forever through his heirs. The lesson for today is that we should always wait and do things according to God’s timing and not our own.
Here you have two stories that demonstrate the mistakes that people often make. First, fear causes them to dig in their heels and to refuse to move forward. Second, impatience causes them to panic and to rush ahead of God’s timing. Both responses lead to disaster. These two blunders lead us to ask how we can know it is from God and it is the right time to do something.
I believe the most important ingredient in discovering and following God’s time table is to engage in intensive prayer. James 1: 5 says, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (NASB) As we pray, it is important that we realize that God wants us to be successful in discovering and doing His will. He does not hide His will from us. He does not want us to fail. Therefore, if we will put self behind us and be open to what He reveals, we can be assured that He will help us to see clearly, not only what He has for us to do but when He wishes for us to do it.
As we pray we must do so with faith. It is faith that can overcome our fears and calm our impatience. It is faith that brings us our greatest blessings. Andrew Murray said it this way, “Be assured that if God waits longer than you could wish, it is only to make the blessing doubly precious. God waited four thousand years, till the fullness of time, ere He sent His Son. Our times are in His hands; He will avenge His elect speedily; He will make haste for our help, and not delay one hour too long.”
What we can learn from the example of the Jews and King Saul is that we should never pull back from a God assigned task in fear and we should never become over zealous and race ahead of Him. The best strategy is to walk with Him step by step and He will lead you to the place He wished you to be.