Daily Thought - "when God's Rewards Are Delayed"

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Oct 22, 2012.

  1. So the Lord gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their ancestors, and they took possession of it and settled there. The Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their ancestors. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the Lord gave all their enemies into their hands. Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. - Joshua 21: 43-45 (NIV)

    I have written often about the microwave society we live in. We are trained by culture to expect answers immediately and when we want something done, we usually want it done yesterday. This often leads to frustration with Christians who can tend to forget that God does not operate within our limited thinking:

    "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the Lord."And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. - Isaiah 55: 8-9 (NLT)

    But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. - 2Peter 3: 8-9 (NLT)

    Yet we can sure think the Lord is slow about bringing His promises to pass in our lives. I am sure Joseph must have felt like God was slow as he sat in prison night after night for ten years. In prison for something he never even did after being sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. Joseph must have felt forgotten as the cup-bearer also forgot him for another two years. We tend to glamorize the story of Joseph because of how he came out of the 12 year wilderness. We rarely stop to think how hard those twelve years must have been. How Joseph tried to hold onto the dream God had given him when he was only 17. How he must have prayed and prayed and prayed - only to continue to wake up in his nightmare morning after morning after morning. Yet we must believe that there was healing in the delay. There was strengthening of faith in the delay. You see, God had a plan. His plan was to use Joseph to save the nation of Israel from a seven year famine. His plan was to have Joseph ascend to the right hand of Pharaoh. But Joseph was not ready to lead when he wanted to get out of prison. Maybe he still hated his brothers. Maybe he was still bitter towards Potiphar's wife for sending him to prison. The delay is what led to Joseph being who he was when Pharaoh called upon him. While the Bible goes into great detail about the 12 year wilderness we often overlook the fact that when the reward finally came it lasted 80 years. Joseph prospered for 80 years following the 12 year ordeal of delay.

    If 12 years seems like a long time, let us take a look at Joshua and Caleb. When God led the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt He took them to the edge of the Promised Land. There 12 spies were sent out and what they saw was a land that was indeed as good as God had promised but fraught with mortal dangers of giants living in the land. When they come back to report to the people, ten of the spies spread a bad report that the land was not conquerable. Only Joshua and Caleb understood the God they served:

    Two of the men who had explored the land, Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, tore their clothing. They said to all the people of Israel, "The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!" - Numbers 14: 6-9 (NLT)

    But the mob mentality of the negative report won the day and the people rebelled. God was very angry:

    Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, "How long must I put up with this wicked community and its complaints about me? Yes, I have heard the complaints the Israelites are making against me. Now tell them this: ‘As surely as I live, declares the Lord, I will do to you the very things I heard you say. You will all drop dead in this wilderness! Because you complained against me, every one of you who is twenty years old or older and was included in the registration will die. You will not enter and occupy the land I swore to give you. The only exceptions will be Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. - Numbers 14: 26-30 (NLT)

    I think we can forget to consider something in this story. Yes, Caleb and Joshua were exceptions but only from the "dying in the wilderness" decree. They still had to walk around in the wilderness for 40 years for something they did not do. They still had to walk around the wilderness for those forty years watching their entire generation die out. They certainly did nothing wrong or to "deserve" this. They eventually did reach the Promised Land again and would eventually take hold of the promises of God but they still were delayed for forty years.

    That brings us to our key verses for today and the deliverance of the promises to Joshua and Caleb. Within these verses are reminders from God to us about what we can expect too in our period of waiting. We all will go through them. We can all expect that our desired timing will not always line up with what God is trying to do. Yet He is never late, as we perceive lateness to be. He is always exactly on time. As the key verses teach us we will take possession of what God has promised. We will be settled within those promises. God will give us rest on every side. Our enemies will not be able to stand before us. We need to hold these truths close to our heart during our delay because not one of God's promises will ever fail. Everyone will be fulfilled. We will see the Promised Land. Pharaoh will call upon us. Within the delay is the faith we need to overcome. Within the delay, God is still God.

    Rev. Anthony
    Ryan Lepko likes this.
  2. Good article Rev.
  3. Thank you sir!

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