Summary: A wednesday night call to not miss God in our lives and the life of the church
* Have you ever considered what it is that God wants for this world, this community, this church, or you? Now, not just a passing thought, but have you ever sat and meditated on it. We say that God wants the best for us and yet, do we believe it, do we live like it?
* It is no secret that this particular local assembly was born out of some difficult days, but if we are indeed a church of God, is it not fair to assume that “HE” has plans for us. For us, both individually and collectively.
* So the obvious question becomes “what is it that God wants us to be and do in this community?” It IS safe to say that since God is in the redeeming business He expects and desire us to be a “redemption center?” Redemption centers, by their nature, serve as a magnet for people. People who need redemption. Honestly, if the church is not a redemption center, we have missed God.
* Missing God. Exactly how does a people “Miss God?” If you have your Bibles turn to Numbers 13 with me and let’s see what we can learn from the children of Israel.
* I want to divide our thinking into 3 sections; the past, the present, and the problem.
1) THE PAST – As you look in the 13th chapter of Numbers, you read a very familiar story (to most of us). The children of Israel are now at Kadesh-Barnea on the brink of attaining everything they had been dreaming about. It began with:
a) The Promise of God - to a man named “Abram” later to be renamed Abraham. God made a covenant to make Abraham the “Father of many nations” and that “his seed would be like the star in the sky.” That was great except for one thing; Abraham and his wife were childless. Yet, Genesis 15 say Abraham believed God. Now, even Abraham stumbled in his journey but ultimately He trusted God’s hand and God honored that trust. God is always as good as His word. The Children of Israel at Kadesh gave lips service to believing this.
b) The Plan of God – God always has a plan! He does nothing in a haphazard way. The first time one reads the Bible and gets to the story of Isaac and His sons or Jacob and His sons, or Joseph in Egypt the casual reader might think “God has lost control.”
* While I’m make a case that these happening were not in God “perfect plan”, God took these events to work them to the good of His people. Now at Kadesh He has another plan, select a committee. (Read vs 1-16) How many of those names do you recognize? Only two. The two guys that ostensibly gave the minority report. But I’m getting ahead of myself. God is working among these people, do you know why? Because they are;
c) The People of God – These are the people God promised, planned for, and now were leading & loving. (The Children of Israel in the Old Testament are the parallel to the Church in the New Testament.) Just as sure as the Children of Israel stood looking into the Promised Land so the Church of Jesus Christ stands looking into the call of the Father. Let’s draw a picture.
2) THE PRESENT – Under God’s leadership, Moses chose the “committee” who would do some leg work for the people. They constituted the “Dream Team” as they were appointed to give some direction about the plans for future. As the “committee” was sent out, there was a great deal of anticipation in the air. (Read vs 17-27)
a) The Desire – At this point it would seem that the desire of the people is at an all time high. They have sent out the leaders of each tribe to gather information because they were going to finally get their promised home! They wanted it. They needed it. They deserved it. God had promised it to them and it was high time that they get what had been promised. Can you imagine the emotion in the million plus people who were listening? Up to this point, it would be the next thing to heaven.
* God was as good as His word and they were glad there was no fine print in the contract.
* Is that not exactly the way we are today in America? We desire to be blessed of God. We desire to be the recipients of God’s love, mercy, grace, and riches. We want it just like they did. We live in a land flowing with milk and honey. We know what it is to have food (both physical and spiritual) in abundance. We can show “fruit from this land”. But then, there is a little problem.. there always is.