There was a time when the Israelites had a chance to enter the Promised Land. God encouraged them to send out some spies to take a sneak peek at what would be in store for them. As noted in Numbers 13:17-20 and 27-30, they failed to see the opportunities but instead focused on the obstacles. Rather than having an unconditional faith that trusted in God’s way of working things out on their behalves, they showed him lukewarm loyalty that shrank back from obedience when a decision had to be made.
The result was a 40-year tour of the desert. Now, we would like to say that we have seen God’s miracles in our lives and are ready to follow Him wholeheartedly. But is this really true? In fact, the absence of an unconditional faith is sometimes quite easily to spot for us in our daily living. We question God’s ability and willingness to come through even though miracles have been witnessed. There is the disobedient unwillingness to step out on faith and let logic take a temporary backseat. Then there is the stubborn reluctance to trust God in the first place. In Numbers 14:20-24, God talks about being treated with contempt. Are we still doing this today?
Sometimes, we may not even realize that God has put us in a holding pattern until we work out our well-intentioned but decidedly conditional faith. While we may not be walking in a desert for 40 years, we may be hoping and praying for change that seems elusive. But there is still hope! Even Caleb had to wait more than 40 years before he received his reward – and he was one of the good guys! That there is a reward is clear. In 1 Peter 1:3-5, we are told that God made a promise to us that He will deliver on – if we are ready to receive it. To get it we need – what else? – unconditional faith.