The Israelites had been slaves in Egypt for 400 years. God worked many miracles and brought them out of Egypt. They were entering into freedom, but they had 400 years of slave mentality when they approached the edge of the promised land.
We also are born into a slave mentality. The Bible describes satan as the prince of this world, and we are born believing that we have to work to earn righteousness of any kind. There is a guilt and condemnation that comes, wondering if someone else perceives our work as good enough, or being punished when work is not good enough.
The Israelites were about to enter God’s rest, a land described as flowing with milk and honey. But when you have a slave mentality, you can’t accept that something so beautiful could be a free gift. When someone tries to give us a gift, we insist that we must pay them back somehow. We’re still hearing the voices of the taskmaster.
You have the faith to believe – but do you have the faith to enter into His rest? Can you rest in Him before you see an answer?
God told the Israelites He was giving them the land. But the people couldn’t blindly accept that – they decided to go check it out for themselves, sending in 12 spies to bring back a report. 10 of the spies said, “We can’t do this – there are giants in this land,” but 2 of them said, “Let’s take the land!” Because they didn’t believe, they wandered for 40 years in the wilderness, until only those 2 spies were left of the original people. They were the only 2 original people who got to enter into the promised land.
Listen to God. Don’t rethink the direction in which He sends you. Knowing God’s voice is part of being in His rest. Will you listen to the majority (the 10 spies), who speak of fear and doubt? Or will you listen to those speaking His truth (the 2 spies)? Follow Christ, even if His voice isn’t the loudest.
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says:
Today, if you hear His voice,
8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
on the day of testing in the wilderness,
9 where your fathers tested Me, tried Me,
and saw My works 10 for 40 years.
Therefore I was provoked with that generation
and said, “They always go astray in their hearts,
and they have not known My ways.”
11 So I swore in My anger,
“They will not enter My rest.” (Hebrews 3)
Rest is grace – it is undeserved, but the Lord gives it anyway. It’s easy to read the account of 12 spies and think, “If I had been there, I’d have listened to Joshua and Caleb (the 2 spies).” But in our own lives, we have giants, and we waver and don’t trust Him.