When Reality Confronts the Facts
Every New Year comes with a reason to be hopeful that it will be better than the previous one. It is not only believers that express the optimism of their lives getting better in the New Year. Positive thinking unbelievers also do. However, for a believer there are solid covenant platforms for this expectation and confession. A typical one is Prov. 4:18 which says, “The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day”.
‘The righteous’ are those who have been justified by faith through the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ, and are now at peace with God. Their forward movement from the realm of dark and painful experiences to a brighter realm of God’s goodness is guaranteed by the grace that God has lavished on them. No wonder John Logan said, “In whatever path we set out, there is no standing still. The grace of God, which is given to men, lies not dormant”. So, God’s grace continues to draw His favour towards His children.
The children of Israel had no idea about grace and attracted God’s wrath instead of His favor in Numbers 14 while journeying from Egypt to their land of promise. They disparaged the power of God to deliver the land into their hands in spite of the previous miraculous works that He wrought among them until that point. God had instructed that spies be sent to survey the Promised Land. To this end, twelve respected leaders of the people were chosen, commissioned and despatched for the assignment with clear terms of reference (Num. 13:18-20).
They returned after the forty-day exploratory journey and survey of the land with a factual report in line with their terms of reference. Majority of the spies, however, went beyond their mandate and persuaded the people that it was impossible to take the land contrary to the cheery and encouraging perspective of the minority, namely Caleb and Joshua. The people therefore rebelled against God and were even prepared to stone both men.
The majority dwelt on the facts that were gathered from their survey (Num. 13:27-29) but Joshua and Caleb were convinced to go for the kill, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” they said (Num. 13:30). They were spurred by the reality on the ground as expressed in Num. 14:9b: “Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them”.
The year 2017 will be full of gloom if we choose to dwell on the facts on ground. However, if we come to grips with the reality that God is with us and makes the way of the righteous to shine brighter and brighter until the break (full light) of day, then this year shall be our best yet. The facts that abound all around should help us to trust Him more than ever before; the reality of His presence and grace gives us the assurance that “We Can Certainly Do It” (Num. 13:30b)
“For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs” (Zeph. 3:17).
Pst. Isaiah Okanlawon, P.Eng