A few crumbs …
So they said to one another, “Let us select a leader and
return to Egypt.” (Numbers 14: 4)
The context of the above text is that the Israelites had just received back the
report of the ten spies. It was one of discouragement and pessimism. Their
immediate reaction was to forsake their leader, choose an alternative, and go back to Egypt. Difficulty and
adversity usually reveal more about us than about our circumstances. It is always easier to go backwards
than forwards. It is easier to give up than persevere. It is easier to doubt than believe. It is easier to be
bitter than forgive. It’s easier to be critical than encouraging or affirming.
For the believer the source of strength and encouragement is the Word of God. This life-imparting book
tells us that in Christ, His blessings are new every morning. These are not syrupy sweet promises to make
us feel better, although they may do that. They are God’s titanium and reinforcing steel bars to create
spiritual substance and sinew in His people so that they resolve never to give up. His blessings are not for
our indulgence but for our progress. The convicting power of the Holy Spirit in our lives is not to condemn
us, but to correct and nurture repentance, restore faith, and birth hope about the things that lie ahead.
But the Christian has more than just promises; he has all of history that speaks of God’s answered
promises. He has the chance to read of promises and prophecies told long before they came to pass, and
then read of their fulfillment. We are people rooted in the reality of what was, and is, and we can hold
fast to what is to come, because we know Jesus who is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Paul writing to the church in Philippi in about AD 62/63 commented that one thing he consumed himself
with was to forget the past and strive to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of him (Philippians
3:12.) He wrote with some authority on the subject. Schooled in the great traditions and depth of
Judaism, he presided over the imprisonment of early Christians, even consenting to their death. His
glorious learning and understanding of the Scriptures was stained by the infamous acts of brutality
against the early church. His solution was to relish in the forgiveness of the Savior, and move forward in
the plan of the Father, empowered by the person of the Holy Spirit. He was concerned to grasp that
purpose for which Christ had laid hold of him.
Such is the bugle sound of the gospel, ever forward in the purposes and power of Christ. But not because
of what we are, but following what Christ has done for us. It is possible that we may “go down” like Joseph
into jail, or we may go back into Egypt like Abraham, but it is not a journey of retreat; it is a detour to
greater purposes. The cross is the great vantage point in every believer’s life. From this mount flows
renewal, encouragement, hope and faith all invigorated and imputed to us by the Holy Spirit.
Believers have no part or right to dwell on the prospects of “going back”. The prophet Micah captured this
truth of perpetual hope when he said, “Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; when I fall I will rise again;
when I sit in darkness the Lord will be a light to me.” (Micah 7:8) The Psalmist confirmed the same hope
when he penned, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way (those of
the good man.) Though he fall, he will not be cast down, for the Lord upholds him with His hand.” Psalm
Into what circumstances has life taken you or do you feel you are being taken? More importantly what is
your response? Do you feel uncertain and confused, as though you were looking at events through dark
glasses? If you have found faith in Christ, your future is not behind you in Egypt. It lies ahead in those
purposes for which He has laid hold of you. Arise mighty soldier and move ahead!