God’s not finished.
Three words spoken to me by the Spirit and given through the Word in season.
LET’S START WITH A STORY
I was on a plane recently, travelling from Sydney to Byron Bay to visit my friends.
The plane’s configuration was three seats – isle – three seats. I was sitting in the isle seat and there was a lady in the window seat.
It was one of those rare moments that gives every traveller reason to rejoice – the flight attendant comes on the intercom to announce the plane doors are closing and voila! There’s a spare seat in the middle!
I saw this as God’s favour falling all over me. I was going to spread out and read my book and my newspaper (yes, I still read newspapers!).
But there was something about the passenger sitting in the window seat that stirred my heart.
She would have been in her 60’s. She was tall, slender, dressed for comfort and had a kind face.
Each time we looked at each other we’d exchange a polite smile. We were nonverbally sussing each other out– did we want to chat or just enjoy 90-minutes of peace and quiet 30,000 feet in the clouds?
But I couldn’t ignore the stirring. And that’s when I knew.
God didn’t have this time set aside for me to spread out and enjoy my own company. This was a divine seat configuration and I was not there by accident.
I noticed that the lady didn’t have any kind of reading material so I offered her my newspaper. We introduced ourselves and started chatting about the reason for our travels.
Long story short, this woman was flying to her mother’s funeral. She was flying alone because her husband had passed away 18-months prior, when they were only two-years into their retirement, with big plans to travel the world. They had no children.
This dear woman had lost her mother and her husband in only 18-months, and her plans for her future had been devastated.
My heart broke for her. She was alone and in grief and yet so sweet and kind.
After chatting we both moved on to reading – she was reading my newspaper and I was reading my book. It was a new-ish book written by Brian Houston titled ‘There is More’.
I was only a few lines in to a new chapter when I heard God say to me, “I’m not finished with her. Her best is still to come.”
I must admit, my initial reaction was, ‘That’s nice God. Now you go tell her that.’
But then my heart started to beat, and my palms started to sweat, and I knew that God wanted more than small talk from my conversation with this woman. He wanted me to talk with her about Him. AND He wanted me to give her my book!
After 10-minutes of micro-analysing this simple God-request and how I could have possibly misunderstood, the plane began to descend. My heart rate had only increased. I knew what I had to do and I knew I was running out of time.
I leaned over to her and said, “I know this going to sound strange, but do you believe in God?”
Her reaction brought the relief and God-given pat on the back that comes from an act of obedience.
She burst into tears and proceeded to tell me that she had been a Christian for decades but was lost after experiencing so much grief.
I shared what God has told me about her and offered her my book. She took it with tears in her eyes and a sincere thank you on her lips.
As the plane landed we gave each other a hug, both with hearts lighter and encouraged in a way that only God can orchestrate.
I’d never planned to share this story with anyone besides my family when they asked if they could borrow the book which I no longer had!
But as I was reading the story of the Israelites scouting the promise land in the book of Numbers, I heard God say those words to me again – ‘I’m not finished’.
If God’s not finished with a 60+ year-old widow, and he wasn’t finished with the stubborn and complaining Israelites as they considered turning away from His promises, He’s certainly not finished with you and me!
So, let’s look at what the Israelites were doing when God repeated these words to my heart…
THE ISRAELITES SCOUT THE PROMISE LAND
In Numbers, Chapters 13 and 14, we see the Israelites camped on the cusp of The Promised Land.
The Lord tells Moses to send men in to the land of Canaan (The Promised Land) to scout it out (Numbers 13:1-2).
After exploring the land for 40-days, the scouts return to Moses and the Israelites with their report on the land (Numbers 13:26-33).
Their report was not a good one.
While they said the land was good and “flowing with milk and honey”, the bible says:
“They gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. And there we saw giants, the sons of Anak, which come from the giants, and in our eyes we were like grasshoppers, and so we were in their eyes.” (Numbers 13:32-33 MEV).
SIDEBAR: TWO THINGS THAT CAN ROB YOU OF YOUR PROMISE:
This passage shows us two things that the enemy will try and use to rob us of the promises of God on our lives:
1. The negative word/report/opinion of others: these scouts that were delivering this report were trusted Israelites. They were chiefs from their respective tribes. They were men whose word should have been aligned to God’s. But they spoke against the promise.
The enemy will use people that come in to your life, even people that are of God and stature/position, to speak against your promise. If this happens to you and the words of these people don’t align to the words of God and His promises on your life, don’t let them settle in your heart and deter you!
2. Viewing the path to the promise through your own eyes rather than God’s infinite ability and promise: Look at what the scouts said in verse 33 – “…and in our eyes we were like grasshoppers, and so we were in their eyes.”
Note how the Israelites viewed their enemy through their own eyes rather than God’s. Why didn’t God factor in to their assessment of the enemy and the land? They looked at the likelihood of victory through their own eyes rather than God’s ability!
How you see yourself is how the enemy will see you!
Do you believe that when the devil looks at you he sees Jesus? Because it’s true! So start seeing yourself that way!
THE ISRAELITES REACTION: TO GO BACK TO WHERE THEY’D ALREADY BEEN DELIVERED FROM
When the scouts delivered this report to the Israelites, look at the reaction of the children of Israel:
“O that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or that we had died in this wilderness! And why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should become prey? Is it not better for us to return to Egypt?
“And they said to one another, “Let us select a leader, and let us return to Egypt.” (Numbers 14:2-4 MEV)
The Israelites wanted to return to the very place that God had just delivered them from!
They were sitting on the cusp of the promise.
They were preparing to go in and claim the promise.
And suddenly, after one bad report, they were ready to throw it all away.
They were ready to give up on the promise and go back to the desolation and slavery from which God had rescued them.
HAVE YOU EVER WANTED TO BACKTRACK TO THE FAMILIAR?
This is essentially what the Israelites wanted to do – they wanted to go back to what was familiar to them, even though it was something that they had cried out to God to rescue them from (see Exodus 2:23).
I know that I have felt like this at times in my own life.
The most poignant example I can think of is when I’ve started new jobs. I’ve prayed for God to give me something new, or I’ve seen God clearly open a window of opportunity to step into a new role. And yet, a few days into navigating the territory of that new God-given job, I find myself wishing I could go back to what was familiar (i.e. my old job!). I find myself thinking that it was better for me there.
How like the Israelites!
It’s a simple example, but it shows our fleshy tendency to be like the Israelites, and to move in the opposite direction of God’s promise.
BUT GOD’S NOT FINISHED
But it was at this point in the Israelites story that God said those words to me again: “I wasn’t finished with them!”
God wasn’t finished with the Israelites then, and He’s not finished with you now!
God didn’t bring the Israelites out of slavery and to the doorstep of the promise only to leave them there.
Similarly, God hasn’t brought you this far to leave you now!
In fact, like the Israelites, you could actually be camped on the very cusp of a promise. Imagine if you turned back now?
Imagine if you ran back to the comfort of the familiar rather than forward into the promise that waits for you in your future?!
Is it worth missing the promises that God has for you for the familiarity of your past and what God has already delivered you from?
Through a lack of faith to move forward into God’s promises, you can actually be blocking the blessings of God.
Look at what happened to the Israelites as a result of their faithlessness in Numbers 14:26-38 – God relegated them to wandering in the wilderness for forty years! Their lack of faith kept them from the promises of God.
ACTIVATE YOUR FAITH
My encouragement in this blog, friend, is this: like the lady I met on the plane, and like the Israelites in this story, God’s not finished with you!
He hasn’t brought you this far to just give up and leave you here.
He has promises that He is moving you into if you follow faithfully and obediently.
Activate your faith!
In my Kenneth Copeland Modern English Version Bible, Kenneth says something about faith that gives us great instruction as we move forward in to God’s promises for our lives:
“Faith activates THE BLESSING of The Lord. Then, by faith, THE BLESSING builds a wall of grace and favour between us and the curse already in this world that’s causing all the pain, death and suffering.”
In Mark 11:22 Jesus says, “Have faith in God.”
Here, Jesus is not commanding us to use our natural human faith. He’s making available to us His faith – THE FAITH OF GOD.
Don’t look at your path to promise through your own ability, strength and faith [like the Israelites did]!
Rather, lean on God’s strength, ability and faith. Take it as your own as you move forward into His promises for your life!
And be confident in this truth: God’s not finished with you!