Today’s Scripture: But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. Hebrews 3:17-19

The Israelites had been miraculously delivered from the hand of Pharaoh; they had seen God lead them with a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night. They had watched as the Red Sea was split in two, and they walked across on dry land. But after all of this, they weren’t ready to enter the Promised Land.

Moses had sent the spies into the land of Israel and had commanded them to bring back the fruit of the land. After forty days, the spies returned. They brought back an abundance of pomegranates and figs and a cluster of grapes so massive that it took two men to carry it. They came to Moses and the people and said, “Surely, the land is flowing with milk and honey.” But they continued, “Nevertheless, the people are great and the cities are strong, and the men are giants and we were as grasshoppers in their sight.”

Caleb tried to calm the people and told them that they could conquer the land, but the people ignored him and wept. Then they murmured about Moses and Aaron and sought to return to Egypt. Joshua then reasoned with the people that God would bring them into the land He had promised them. He told them not to rebel against God but to trust Him, but he people’s response was to attempt to stone their leaders.

Because of this lack of trust in God, they were condemned to wander in the wilderness for 40 years and everyone the age of 20 and older would die except for Joshua and Caleb. Out of all of those hundreds of thousands of people, only a few believed God.

The people saw the difficulties but failed to believe God’s promise to give them the Promised Land. Because of their unbelief, they wandered and died in the wilderness instead of receiving the blessings God had in store for them. God’s will for his people was not for them to live in bondage or to wander in the wilderness — it was for them to thrive in a land filled with milk and honey. Yet, they weren’t able to receive their promise because of their unbelief.

Friend, God is often calling us to be the exception to the rule. If we walk by faith, we will have God’s blessing every step of the way. There are a lot of Christians that are saved but not willing to live the Christian life. They aren’t willing to dedicate themselves to Christ, so they wander. They doubt God’s Word and live in restless unbelief. Just as God was with Israel in the wilderness, God is still with His Children today, but many of them are not enjoying the fullness God has for them.

It took 40 years for the Israelites to go a very short distance. Don’t waste your life because of unbelief. Determine to live a life of conviction and dedication to God. Grab hold of His promises, and you can be exceptional.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.