The Consequence of However

817 words | 3 minutes

Feb 24, 2024

ONE word.

God heard the cry of the Children of Israel in Egypt—He saw the anguish of their suffering, the abuse of their slavery. God said, “It’s ENOUGH.” He stepped in, He selected a leader—a child of Israel raised as a prince of Egypt—and then God set him aside in Midian for forty more years.

I smile when I read this. Forty more years. How many more Israelites were born in that forty years while Moses languished out in the backside of the desert? How much stronger did Israel become in that generation of time while God had His BIG plan ON HOLD.

Surely, as Rachel Coltharp has said, “God writes LONG stories.” He has all the time in the world. “His time” has nothing to do with the clock or the calendar. God created TIME for us—it doesn’t rule Him or direct His actions. He is not frantic, in a frenzy, nor is He rushed. “He hath made every thing beautiful in HIS time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 KJV) “In HIS season” … He takes as long as IT takes. Selah.

Back to the story. Finally, God empowered Moses to lead His people out of Egypt with miraculous signs and wonders, making a beeline for the Promised Land. They got to the border—there was no river to cross. No checkpoint to go through. God simply told Moses to pick twelve BRAVE men—all LEADERS—one from each tribe except Levi, to go ahead and check out their new home. Like a final inspection before moving in. Moses instructed, “Look at the country, the land, the people, the cities … and bring back some evidence—something sweet—some FRUIT! Something I know everyone has been hungry for!!”

So, they did. Forty days later, after Moses and Israel had waited expectantly, they returned with their report. “We did it! We checked it out. Sure enough, it’s a sweet land ‘flowing with milk and honey’ … just look at these grapes!” YAAY! And then, came the word that changed everything …

However …”

“… we saw the people. We saw what we’re up against. They’re too BIG and strong for us. And besides, the land DEVOURS its inhabitants!”

I wonder, what did they have to worry about then, if the LAND itself would conquer the resident giants FOR them?! What an incredible attitude after seeing firsthand how STRONG was THEIR GOD, the God of Israel, who had already proved multiple times over what a powerful and faithful CONQUEROR He IS!

But Joshua and Caleb remembered! They said “WE CAN DO THIS! GOD IS WITH US!” The ten said, “We FEEL we can’t” but the two said, “We KNOW we CAN!”

Here we see the difference between emotional despair and hysteria versus FAITH supported by EVIDENCE. The ten spies relied on the “evidence” of what they sensed—Joshua and Caleb stood on the evidence of WHAT and WHO they KNEW.

But that “HOWEVER” cost them ALL. FORTY MORE YEARS. Their long story suddenly got longer … during which all the “However” people died, as well as every other able-bodied fighting man over the age of twenty from every tribe except Levi. Note: Israel’s fighting force at this point numbered almost two thousand MORE than it would forty years later when they’d actually go in and take the land. Tragic.

FORTY MORE YEARS of wandering, of desert … of MANNA. All that FRUIT, snatched from their grasp. So close, and yet, so far. What a cost, that “however.”

That one word also almost cost them their reputation in the region and the reputation of THEIR GOD. The LORD, in His righteous prerogative, could’ve destroyed the entire camp AT THAT TIME and started completely over! (Again, God has all the time in the world.) But Moses stepped up and said, “Lord, if You do that, and the Egyptians (what’s left of them) hear about it …” He knew there were others watching, too. Other nations. The inhabitants of The Promised Land. Jericho was watching! Rahab, who later said, “We know Adonai is GOD for we have HEARD …” she was watching. I have no doubt that all the known world at that time was watching (and without Internet). And now WE’RE watching. The consequence of one word.

“God doesn’t give us what we can handle; He helps us handle what we are given.” — Stephen Judd

If only the “Howevers” could’ve understood THAT. I want to be careful that I don’t, by a word of doubt, make my story of suffering longer than it needs to be.

This I pray: Touch me, LORD … but before you TOUCH me, TEACH me. Teach me to trust You in every word. You’ve already been faithful. Teach me to REMEMBER. Teach me to KNOW You can take me through whatever “land of giants” looms before me. There’s no “however” to taint my trust. YOU are with me—I am NOT AFRAID!