“Then Moses told these words to all the children of Israel, and the people mourned greatly. And they rose early in the morning and went up to the top of the mountain, saying, “Here we are, and we will go up to the place which the Lord has promised, for we have sinned!” And Moses said, “Now why do you transgress the command of the Lord? For this will not succeed. Do not go up, lest you be defeated by your enemies, for the Lord is not among you. For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and you shall fall by the sword; because you have turned away from the Lord, the Lord will not be with you.” But they presumed to go up to the mountaintop. Nevertheless, neither the ark of the covenant of the Lord nor Moses departed from the camp. Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who dwelt in that mountain came down and attacked them, and drove them back as far as Hormah.”
Numbers 14:39-45 NKJV
The opening and the closing of the door
God is a provider of opportunity. He is the One who opens doors and closes them, and for those who seize upon those opportunities, He is faithful to be with them, fulfilling His promises. Sometimes, those opportunities are wrought with potential danger, as the enemy is plentiful, and seemingly overwhelming. But God is greater the any enemy we may face.
I think of missionaries who choose to serve in dangerous places. They place themselves and their families in the line of fire of the evil one, sacrificing for the opportunity to lead people to Jesus. This world has become overwhelmingly opposed to those who bring the true message of Jesus. By faith, they overcome all who are against Jesus.
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
I John 4:4 NKJV
As I read Numbers chapter 14, this morning, I thought of the doors that God opens and closes, as He invites His people to take part sin the work that He is doing.
Twelve spies had entered the promised land, see all that they could see. Ten came back with bad reports, steeped in unbelief and lacking faith in the God who had lead them thus far. They had forgotten all the great miracles, God’s provision of food and water, and how He vanquished the Egyptians right before their eyes, as he drowned them.
Because they had rejected Him, the LORD declared that none of them from twenty years of age on up would enter the promised land, as they would die in the wilderness. They failed to realize that their God was for them and greater than the enemies they would face. The door that had been opened, was now closed.
Like so many of us, they had second thoughts. Unfortunately, the opportunity was now gone. Perhaps in their pride, they decided to power through, and go to the mountain, even though they had been commanded not to do so. As one might expected, they were defeated.
The Old Testament is provided to New Testament believers as example of the eternal work of God. It is the foundation on which we have built our faith. God has prepared a way to victory for us, if we are willing to proceed by faith. From Jesus going to the cross for our sins, being buried and being raised from the dead, to the giving of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, to every moment a sinner puts their faith in Christ for forgiveness, God makes a way.
Along the way there are opportunities given for us to glorify God. Sometimes He calls us to go and tell others of the Gospel, to share the story He has given us in the form of our testimony. The doors open, we obey. We hesitate, the door closes.
Brothers and sisters, let us be quick to obey by faith, when the Lord opens a door, and let us be confident as Joshua and Caleb were, when we face situations that seem impossible. Let us remember that the Lord delights ion us, and desires to give us the victory.
“But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’”
Numbers 14:6-8 NKJV
We are feeling a sense of urgency in these waning days, as all of time seems to be rolling up like a rug. The natural man would sensibly desire to hunker down, and resist the call of the LORD. But like the children of Israel, we have a promised land before us, far better than that promised to them. In that land, all enemies have already been vanquished, and we are called to win as many of the souls of the enemy we can.
Respond to the open door, do not hesitate! Do not find yourself as one appearing too late, desiring to obey, but attempting to do so without the Lord.
You who do not believe, who have not been forgiven because you have rejected the message shared with you: there is coming a day when that door, open to the cross, will close, and your opportunity for salvation and rescue from hell will be gone. Listen to the Joshuas and the Calebs, who have spied the land, and know that the Lord is faithful.
One of the saddest moments ever facing humanity, will be the plight of those who stand looking into the abyss that is the lake of fire, having not acted sooner, as the door was closing. Many will have been almost ready, but too late.
Not only does He open doors, but He stands at the ones we have closed and He knocks. He is seeking those He desires to save.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”
Revelation 3:20 NKJV
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