Time to Believe
I can’t tell you how many times I look at a clock and see this!
Our younger son started noticing this phenomenon when he was in high school and it always gave us a good laugh. But for the past few years it’s happened too many times for me to ignore. Why is it I glance at a clock just in time to see it turn to a series of one’s? If I wake in the night, squinting through sleepy eyes, it’s not unusual for me to see 1:11. If my husband tells me to look at the time, I already know what I’ll see. Maybe it’s a coincidence or maybe I’m making too much of it. But…maybe God wants my attention.
I began to search how many books of the Bible had chapters and verses that matched these numbers. There weren’t many but those that did left me clueless. Until I opened Hebrews, that is. The 11th chapter verse 1 and 11 are all about faith.
Hebrews 11:1, Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:11, By faith Abraham, even though he was past age–and Sarah herself was barren–was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.
This was the message. Have faith in God! I have to admit trials can leave me unsettled. I need reminders to trust God, no matter what. To persevere. To rest. To sit down in heavenly places (as our last lesson taught). To believe. Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!
There’s an interesting story about faith in Old Testament history. God promised Israel a land flowing with milk and honey. The people were camped in the desert at Kadesh ready to cross over to Canaan. Moses sent twelve spies to explore the territory, instructing them to see what the land was like and if the people who lived there were strong or weak, few or many. The twelve spies explored the land for forty days, bringing back some of the fruit of the land. The story continues below:
Numbers 13:26-33 and 14:1-9 (excerpts)
They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh and gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us and it does flow with milk and honey. Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large.”
Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”
But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
That night all the people of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?”
Joshua and Caleb who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly. “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”
Questions to consider:
1. What spiritual state do you think “Kadesh” might represent for us today?
2. How did the ten faithless spies voice their unbelief?
3. How did the Israelites respond to the negative report? What were they lacking?
4. What stands out to you in the way Caleb and Joshua voiced their faith?
5. What is the significance of Joshua and Caleb’s words, “If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us to the land flowing with milk and honey.”
Fear blinded the Israelites from believing the promises of God. You would have thought they were confident in their relationship with the Creator. After all, He parted the Red Sea for them. Yet, they magnified their enemies instead of magnifying their God. They even called themselves grasshoppers and the inhabitants of Canaan, giants. Don’t we often do the same, making our problems bigger than our God? Trials test our faith for sure, but let Israel’s example be our warning. Don’t camp out in places of unbelief and fear like Kadesh, longing to return to our own type of “Egypts.” Let’s choose to believe the promises of God. If nothing else, the numbers on the clock remind me to keep believing. To have faith in the Sovereignty and love of God. Without faith it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
In what unusual way has God spoken to you?