Summary: Ever wonder "what if?" In God’s timing, he has placed opportunities before us. It is up to us to seize the blessing, before it is too late.
MISSING GOD’S OPPORTUNITIES
TEXT: NUMBERS 14:6-11
THEME: SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY BEFORE YOU.
His name was David and he was the first Christian I ever really met. We became friends because his talk about God and Jesus fascinated me. We talked almost every day because we both had a break during the same time. This was the first time I remember in my life becoming interested with Christianity. There was something about his stories, or maybe the story that drew me in. His outlook on life was from a perspective that shocked me. He had a joy and a peace that was foreign to me. I remember after some time, he invited me over to his house. I really wanted to go, I liked the guy. But I was best with my friends and life. It was something that I wanted to do, but nothing that was too urgent at the time. So he asked a few times, and I declined a few times. After the semester, Dave and I stopped talking during our breaks. To this day, I wonder what would have happened if I went? Would I have become a Christian? If so, how would have this changed my life? It would be about another four years before I would give my life to Christ. But what if, I converted then?
Maybe you have wondered about missed opportunities. Maybe you have questioned that opportunity before you in the past that you missed. Maybe it was an education choice, a job offer, a move to a new area, or a girl you never asked to marry you. Maybe it was a time you felt like you needed to repent, but fought the feeling. Maybe it was an opportunity to serve as a deacon or elder or bible class teacher. Whatever the opportunity was, you have wondered how your life would have been different if you seized the opportunity. You missed out on something God intended you to have. You were meant to take that step, you were meant to conquer that goal, you were meant for something different. You missed the opportunity that the Lord had for you, and now your life is forever changed.
Have you ever wondered about God’s timing in your life? You know, about how God is working in your life. God is involved in this world. We believe in a God that is alive, not in a god of the deism, which I mean that God did not create the world and has left us on our own. We believe in a God that helps us in this work. That God has a plan and a time for us. God time and our time are interconnected. This is the mystery of providence. One may be tempted to conclude that providence simply means God’s foreknowledge of human affairs, but providence includes more than this partial definition. The point is not that God just looks “at” human affairs. The truth is that God looks “after” human affairs. He not only watches us, He watches over us. Providence is God’s behind-the-scenes involvement in the lives of His people. An illustration of this idea is seen when one mother says to another mother “Will you watch over my child?” This watching includes more than a visual connotation—it implies providing for the child’s welfare. But there are two participants in providence. This is where the idea of confluence comes into providence. The doctrine of providence can become confusing because of the interconnectedness of God’s will and man’s will. Through providence God never asserts His will over man’s will. Both God’s and man’s will’s work together to create a providential moment. To understand this idea, one must study the doctrine of confluence. The term confluence refers to the “flowing together” of two or more currents. To grasp the idea of confluence, picture two steams flowing together to create a river. Only when God and man are on the same wavelength can providence be created. When it comes to God’s timing in providence, man must be involved in the opportunity.
We see in this story an account of God’s people missing out on a God opportunity. We know the story well. It is the story of the spies reporting about the land of Canaan. God had delivered the people from Egyptian bondage and has led them through the desert. They are at the threshold of the promise land. Moses sends in 12 spies. But all of the spies except Joshua and Caleb are afraid to take the land because of the size of the people. But Joshua and Caleb realized this was one of God’s special timing events. God would give his people the victory over these heathen peoples. If only the people would not be afraid and have faith to enter into battle. But the people rejected the timing of the Lord. Numbers 14:1-4 “Then all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, "Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! "And why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?" So they said to one another, "Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt."