Today’s scripture reading:
“Please, Lord, prove that your power is as great as you have claimed. For you said, ‘The LORD is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. But he does not excuse the guilty. He lays the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations.’ In keeping with your magnificent, unfailing love, please pardon the sins of this people, just as you have forgiven them ever since they left Egypt.” Then the LORD said, “I will pardon them as you have requested. But as surely as I live, and as surely as the earth is filled with the LORD ’s glory, not one of these people will ever enter that land. They have all seen my glorious presence and the miraculous signs I performed both in Egypt and in the wilderness, but again and again they have tested me by refusing to listen to my voice. They will never even see the land I swore to give their ancestors. None of those who have treated me with contempt will ever see it. But my servant Caleb has a different attitude than the others have. He has remained loyal to me, so I will bring him into the land he explored. His descendants will possess their full share of that land.
Often we become so focused on something or someone that we’re unable to hear the Lord. In those times, one of God’s most effective yet painful methods of getting our attention is through disappointments. But oh, how we dislike this approach!
Disappointment is one of the ways God spoke dramatically to the nation of Israel. In Numbers 14, He directed His people into the Promised Land. However, fear invaded their hearts and they were scared of the inhabitants, so they refused to enter. As a result, the Lord told the Israelites they’d “by no means see the land” for 40 years, until after the death of the generation that had been too fearful to enter (Numbers 14:23).
The postponement was so disheartening that they decided to change their minds. Sadly, though, it was too late; God had already settled the issue. And the people were distraught with grief because of what they had missed.
At that moment, when they were in the throes of their disappointment, do you think God had their attention? Absolutely. The next time He gave Israel a command, don’t you imagine they listened a bit more intently?
Tragically, failure is rather common in such situations. Instead of looking to God when disappointments occur, we are quick to blame circumstances, other people, fate, or even the enemy.
We are hesitant to believe that our loving Father could be responsible for our frustrations. Yet He is willing to use disappointments to realign our thoughts and plans with His. Consider the difficulties you have faced—might the Lord have been trying to say something in the midst of them?