Spying Out the Land

I had the opportunity to eat lunch yesterday with some folks representing vital partnerships in our upcoming church plant.  We will work closely with the Shelby Baptist Association and Alabama State Board of Missions along with Westwood Baptist Church as we share the Gospel with people in Shelby County.  I was told a story about a woman who lives in the area that I have felt lead to plant the church.  She recently called the Shelby Baptist Association office to ask when someone would plant a church in her community!  Isn’t it amazing how God drops clues for us to discover?  He is already at work around us.  It’s just a matter of joining Him in what He is doing.
I’m beginning the process of scoping out the potential area for the new church. There are so many unknowns.  What will happen next?  Will the community be receptive to a new church?   Will I be able to lead a chruch?  Sometimes I feel like the Israelites when they sent out spies to check out the Promised Land:


"Then the Lord spoke to Moses saying, “Send out for yourself men so that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I am going to give to the sons of Israel; you shall send a man from each of their fathers’ tribes, every one a leader among them.” So Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran at the command of the Lord, all of them men who were heads of the sons of Israel. " (Numbers 13:1-3, NASB95)

Isn’t it interesting that God allowed Moses to send the spies, yet He had already promised to give the land to Israel?  Why did they need spies if they knew that God was going to win the battle?  Moses writes in Deuteronomy that this plan was the idea of the people:

"“I said to you, ‘You have come to the hill country of the Amorites which the Lord our God is about to give us. ‘See, the Lord your God has placed the land before you; go up, take possession, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has spoken to you. Do not fear or be dismayed.’ “Then all of you approached me and said, ‘Let us send men before us, that they may search out the land for us, and bring back to us word of the way by which we should go up and the cities which we shall enter.’ “The thing pleased me and I took twelve of your men, one man for each tribe. " (Deuteronomy 1:20-23, NASB95)

God allowed the Israelites to discover their true feelings.  They still doubted God even though He had led them out of Egypt, parted the Red Sea, fed them miraculously in the wilderness, and brought water from a stone.  There are so many examples of God’s providence in the Bible.  The same is true for my life.  And I still doubt…

I must remember that God is in control.  He has promised that He will never forsake us.  He desires for the lost to be found.  He has promised to build His church.  Thank God I can move into uncharted territory knowing that He has gone before me to prepare the way.  I must trust that God will provide in my life.  Will you do the same?

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