“The Lord responded, ‘I have pardoned them, as you requested. Yet as surely as I live and as the whole earth is filled with the Lord’s glory, none of the men who have seen My glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tested Me these 10 times and did not obey Me, will ever see the land I swore to give their fathers. None of those who have despised Me will see it.” (Numbers 14:20-23)
The Lord told Moses to choose 12 men, one from each of Israel’s tribes, and send them to spy out Canaan. The 12 returned, and 10 of them said the land was great but filled with fortified cities and giants. They said they felt like grasshoppers in comparison, and their conclusion was that entering Canaan was impossible. Caleb and Joshua, however, said the land was great, and that Israel could enter and take over the land because the Lord would give it to them. The people accepted the majority report. Fear blazed through the camp, like an electric shock. There was talk of choosing a new leader to lead them back to Egypt. There was talk of stoning Moses and Aaron for getting them into this mess. The appearance of the Lord’s glory, however, prevented that, and then came the judgment of God – one year in the wilderness for each day the spies were in Canaan. They would wander in the wilderness for 40 years, until that generation all died. Opportunity was lost.
The failure to act in faith often results in the loss of opportunity. God’s patience may endure for a time, but eventually a refusal to obey the Lord’s command or direction can lead to the loss of the opportunity the Lord provided. All people have left then is their thoughts of “what could have been.” Some might call that “tragic.”
The Lord gives us “timed opportunities.” We need to follow Him in faith and obedience in His timing if we want to live the opportunities He provides rather than having to reflect back on what might have been.
Lord, Help us to be perceptive to Your leading and responsive in Your timing in all the opportunities You give us. Amen.