13 Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know this for certain: Your offspring will be strangers in a land that does not belong to them; they will be enslaved and oppressed 400 years. 14 However, I will judge the nation they serve, and afterwards they will go out with many possessions.Israel was to be persecuted and would be delivered from bondage after a period of 400 years. The challenge was to believe what God had said and to have faith in His promises. While it is human nature to want the results now, God is patient and operates according to His timing.
Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will certainly come to your aid and bring you up from this land to the land He promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
6 “Therefore tell the Israelites: I am Yahweh, and I will deliver you from the forced labor of the Egyptians and free you from slavery to them. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and great acts of judgment. 7 I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. You will know that I am Yahweh your God, who delivered you from the forced labor of the Egyptians. 8 I will bring you to the land that I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD.” 9 Moses told this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their broken spirit and hard labor.
And the LORD responded: “Look, I am making a covenant. I will perform wonders in the presence of all your people that have never been done in all the earth or in any nation. All the people you live among will see the LORD’s work, for what I am doing with you is awe-inspiring.
Through all of this, in spite of everything that is seen and experienced, God’s promises for deliverance require a choice to believe in God and trust that He will do what He says. This is an act of obedience to Him and to His Word. God has to come first in all things.
But the men who had gone up with him responded, “We can’t go up against the people because they are stronger than we are!”
26 “But you were not willing to go up, rebelling against the command of the LORD your God. 27 You grumbled in your tents and said, ‘The LORD brought us out of the land of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites so they would destroy us, because He hated us. 28 Where can we go? Our brothers have discouraged us, saying: The people are larger and taller than we are; the cities are large, fortified to the heavens. We also saw the descendants of the Anakim there.’
God recognizes that many people struggle with trusting in Him because of the disappointments that people may experience, as well as betrayals and circumstances brought about by others. In spite of all of this, God never brings us to a place where we cannot handle what we are facing. He provides intervention, grace and mercy.
“But, so we won’t offend them, go to the sea, cast in a fishhook, and catch the first fish that comes up. When you open its mouth you’ll find a coin. Take it and give it to them for Me and you.”
3 “I’m going fishing,” Simon Peter said to them.
“We’re coming with you,” they told him. They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
4 When daybreak came, Jesus stood on the shore. However, the disciples did not know it was Jesus.
5 “Men,” Jesus called to them, “you don’t have any fish, do you?”
“No,” they answered.
6 “Cast the net on the right side of the boat,” He told them, “and you’ll find some.” So they did, and they were unable to haul it in because of the large number of fish. 7 Therefore the disciple, the one Jesus loved, said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”
Therefore, when many of His disciples heard this, they said, “This teaching is hard! Who can accept it?”
It is difficult to follow biblical truth; nonetheless, it is necessary. The degree of difficulty in recognizing truth does not mean that the truth is less significant or irrelevant. One loses out when the choice is made not to believe and trust.
I gave you a land you did not labor for, and cities you did not build, though you live in them; you are eating from vineyards and olive groves you did not plant.’
29 “So I said to you: Don’t be terrified or afraid of them! 30 The LORD your God who goes before you will fight for you, just as you saw Him do for you in Egypt. 31 And you saw in the wilderness how the LORD your God carried you as a man carries his son all along the way you traveled until you reached this place. 32 But in spite of this you did not trust the LORD your God.
Deuteronomy 1:35, 37-45
35 ‘None of these men in this evil generation will see the good land I swore to give your fathers.
37 “The LORD was angry with me also because of you and said: ‘You will not enter there either. 38 Joshua son of Nun, who attends you, will enter it. Encourage him, for he will enable Israel to inherit it. 39 Your little children who you said would be plunder, your sons who don’t know good from evil, will enter there. I will give them the land, and they will take possession of it. 40 But you are to turn back and head for the wilderness by way of the Red Sea. ‘
41 “You answered me, ‘We have sinned against the LORD. We will go up and fight just as the LORD our God commanded us.’ Then each of you put on his weapons of war and thought it would be easy to go up into the hill country.
42 “But the LORD said to me, ‘Tell them: Don’t go up and fight, for I am not with you to keep you from being defeated by your enemies. ‘ 43 So I spoke to you, but you didn’t listen. You rebelled against the LORD’s command and defiantly went up into the hill country. 44 Then the Amorites who lived there came out against you and chased you like a swarm of bees. They routed you from Seir as far as Hormah. 45 When you returned, you wept before the LORD, but He didn’t listen to your requests or pay attention to you.
When the people wandering in the wilderness chose not to trust in God, the consequence was that they would never see “the good land.” The land was still given to Israel, but the ones who lacked faith missed out. The consequences of a lack of faith can be dire. No matter how difficult it is to carry out, one should never doubt to the point where we are disobedient to God’s commands. None of this is to be confused with your salvation, God’s forgiveness, or how much God loves you. The lack of faith that drives a person into disobedience of God’s commands brings harm into the relationship that you have with Jesus Christ.
The more that we learn about Jesus Christ, the greater our ability to have faith and trust in Him. His promises have never changed, and we need to trust that He has kept each and every one of them.