Overwhelmed or Focused?

When Joshua, Caleb, and ten other reps from Israel went to check out the land God had promised them, it was overwhelming. The cities were fortified. Their enemies seemed like giants. The opposing armies appeared to be undefeatable, the cities impregnable. Even though Joshua and Caleb knew they could not lose with God on their side, the other ten said they could never take the land. Most of the people decided it would be suicide to even try.

“Then I [Moses] said to you, ‘Do not be in dread or afraid of them. The Lord your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place.’ Yet in spite of this word you did not believe the Lord your God…” Deuteronomy 1:29‭-‬32 ESV

How depressing it must have been to come so far out of Egypt and through the wilderness only to face certain defeat upon reaching their final destination! Even though God promised to be with them and defeat their enemies, the people chose to give up rather than believe and follow Him.

What impossible situation are you facing? Will you believe God and His promises or give up on the future He has promised?

Israel stopped focusing on God. They forgot all He had already done for them—how he parted the Red Sea and led them out of Egypt, how He destroyed the Egyptian army that pursued them, and how He provided them bread from heaven and water from the rock. They forgot how the powerful Almighty had spoken from Mount Sinai to give them the Ten Commandments and all the work they had so gladly done in preparing the Tabernacle and Ark of the Covenant, learning how to worship and serve God. All they could think about was the impossible situation they now faced.

What has God done for you in the past? What has He taught you? How has He demonstrated His power and love in bringing you through impossible situations in the past?

Because they neglected to trust and follow Him, that entire generation (except Joshua and Caleb) missed out on the blessing of entering the Promised Land. It made no difference when they suddenly changed their minds and decided to go conquer the land after all. Moses warned them they would lose because the Lord was no longer with their army. They went in their own strength anyway and were defeated. The survivors wandered in the wilderness until that faithless generation died out, and Joshua led their children into the Promised Land.

What blessing might you miss out on if you fail to trust God? Are you seeking the Lord and trusting Him to bring you through, or are you trying to fight the battle in your own strength?

God asks me to focus on Him rather than be overwhelmed by the obstacles of life. He calls me to have the faith of Joshua, who assured Israel that with God on their side, they would surely win. I should be like David, who was brave enough to fight a giant while armed with just a sling, a few stones, and simple faith in a great God. I need to be like Peter, willing to step out of the boat and walk on the water with eyes focused on Jesus—because I only really fail when I take my eyes off Him.

Lord, thank You for fighting Israel’s enemies. If You can conquer vast armies, the things I face are surely a drop in the bucket by comparison. Thank You for fighting for me.

Help me not to be so overwhelmed by my enemies that I lose focus and faith in You. Thank You that what overwhelms me does not overwhelm You. You are bigger than all my struggles. You are greater than all my fears. You have already won.

Be with my kids, and help them to recognize Your power and move forward in Your strength even when they don’t feel like it—even when it seems impossible. Amen.