Dwelling in Kadesh


Most of us are familiar with the account of Moses and the Israelites’ wilderness journey. From the plagues in Egypt, to the parting of the Red Sea, to the manna in the desert, this account is rich with testimony to both the faithfulness of God and the faithlessness of His people. When the Israelites are just at the border of the Promised Land, the Bible gives us another peek into their hearts, and a lesson about trusting God.

When they had finally reached Kadesh, the border of Canaan, Moses sent 12 spies into the land to see what they might be up against as they moved over the border. The report was both good and not so good. The produce of the land was plentiful and it was indeed, as God had promised, a land flowing with milk and honey. But the people who lived there were giants, and the cities were well fortified.

Two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, wanted to go up anyway to conquer the land, because they believed the Lord’s promise of victory; but the other ten spies were terrified. They forgot all about the mighty, powerful God who’d parted the Red Sea, and thought only of what they had seen—giants, fortified cities, and certain defeat.

So the children of Israel did what they did best. They complained, cried, and regretted leaving Egypt. Discontentment and complaining had become their standard response to any development they didn’t like, and this episode would be no different. They even began to rally for a move back to Egypt—back to slavery and hopelessness (Numbers 13:26-14:4)! As we read this account, we struggle to understand how a people who had seen such great miracles from the Lord could so quickly lose faith…That is, until we look at our own hearts.

How many times has the Lord shown Himself faithful to us? Has He sustained our lives to this day? Has He chosen us before the foundation of the world, saved us, and continued to make us more like His precious son? Then He has indeed been faithful. In light of this truth, why do we still desire to dwell in Kadesh? Why won’t we go “all in” to that promised life, surrendering ourselves to His will, and letting go of our own selfish desires?

My dear friend, are you failing in your battle against sinful thoughts and complaints? Are you discontented and grumbling about what God has provided for you, wishing for things to be more to your liking? If so, then you are facing giants. The world, your own flesh, and Satan’s ploys are all battling against you, trying to drive you away from that abundant life that God desires to give you (John 10:10). Like the Israelites, the only thing standing between you and God’s best is your own fear-driven, sinful thinking.

My challenge for you today is to repent of discontentment and complaining, and ask the Holy Spirit to help you trust in God’s promises, believing that He is able to deliver you. Pack your bags, get out of Kadesh, and start marching toward that Promised Land. Your faithful God will supply the weapons (2 Corinthians 10:4), the strength (Psalm 28:8), and the victory (1 John 5:4) as you trust in Him!