I was recently reminded of a sweet memorable moment when my youngest son Bryce was a baby.
I remember on this one occasion when Bryce crawled towards a little toy car that he desired. When he reached the toy car, he grabbed it with his left hand. He seemed quite content with his newly found toy car…but then after a brief period of time, he noticed a much bigger toy car a short distance away.
He attempted to crawl forward toward the bigger toy car but was unsuccessful because he was still holding the little toy car. He could not move forward. He couldn’t figure out that he had to let go of the little toy car so he could use both hands and feet to crawl over to the bigger toy car.
Even though he desired the bigger toy car, he would not let go of the little toy car and ended up sitting in this one place for a long time until he eventually became frustrated and began crying. Holding onto this little toy car prevented him from moving forward.
He had to choose to either continue holding onto the little toy car and remain where he was …or choose to let it go and move forward toward the bigger toy car.
Bryce was at a place of decision.
In the Bible, the Israelites were also at a place of decision…but a place of decision with far greater consequences than a baby choosing between a little toy car and a bigger toy car.
Kadesh-barnea…referred to as a “place of decision” …was a significant place where the course of Israel’s history was changed.
The word “kadesh” comes from the Hebrew root qadash which means “holy or sacred” and “barnea” means “desert of wandering.”
Kadesh-barnea (this holy desert of wanderings) was a gateway to the Promised Land for the Israelites. It was from Kadesh-barnea that the 12 spies were sent into the land of Canaan.
19 Then, as the Lord our God commanded us, we set out from Horeb and went toward the hill country of the Amorites through all that vast and dreadful wilderness that you have seen, and so we reached Kadesh Barnea. 20 Then I said to you, “You have reached the hill country of the Amorites, which the Lord our God is giving us. 21 See, the Lord your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, told you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
22 Then all of you came to me and said, “Let us send men ahead to spy out the land for us and bring back a report about the route we are to take and the towns we will come to.”
23 The idea seemed good to me; so I selected twelve of you, one man from each tribe. 24 They left and went up into the hill country, and came to the Valley of Eshkol and explored it.
25 Taking with them some of the fruit of the land, they brought it down to us and reported, “It is a good land that the Lord our God is giving us.” Deuteronomy 1:19-25
What is so interesting is that this scouting expedition was not God’s idea! Moses liked the idea and God allowed it…but the idea originated with the Israelites!
If the Israelites had believed and trusted God…the scouting expedition would have been completely unnecessary. God already told them He would give them the land. All they had to do was go forward. Going forward would mean no more wandering through the desert.
It should have been an easy decision to make…but the Israelites worried, complained, and murmured because they didn’t trust God. Consequently, they wandered in the desert for approx. 40 years! (One theory is that that during these 38 years they remained in and about Kadesh…hence the name.)
Are you experiencing our own Kadesh-barnea today? Are you at your own “place of decision” like the Israelites?
Maybe at your own Kadesh-barnea you have been in a place of discouragement or defeat…
Maybe at your own Kadesh-barnea you have been in a place of hurt or pain…
Maybe at your own Kadesh-barnea you have been in a place of anxiousness or fear…
Maybe at your own Kadesh-barnea you have been in a place of bitterness, resentment, or unforgiveness…
Maybe at your own Kadesh-barnea you have been in a place of grumbling and complaining…
Maybe at your own Kadesh-barnea you have been in place of dryness and complacency spiritually…
How long have you been in this place? And how long is long enough?
FYI…If you are going through a difficult loss or tragedy…of course it takes time to heal and I do not minimize your suffering. I speak to those who have chosen to stay in their Kadesh-barnea for a very long time…who have chosen to wander around in the desert…thus preventing and holding them back from receiving all that God has for them.
Are you trusting God today? Are you ready to move forward into the blessings and promises of God?
Just like the Israelites…this is a place of decision. We can choose to stay…and continue to wander…or we can choose to move forward.
God wants you to move forward!
Interestingly, God promised to bring the Israelites to the Promised Land way before they ever even reached Kadesh-barnea. Unfortunately, the Israelites didn’t believe God then…and clearly didn’t believe Him at Kadesh-barnea as well.
6 Therefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm, and with great judgments:
7 And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
8 And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it to you for a heritage: I am the LORD. Exodus 6:6-8
God will bring you out…So that He can bring you in!
Notice that it is God…and His power…that will bring us out. So that God…and His power…can bring us into the blessings, promises, and plans for our life!
But it is in our “place of decision” that we must trust Him.
How can we trust God and begin moving forward?
Ponder and reflect upon what is holding you back from moving forward. Comfort, complacency, disobedience, pride, lack of faith to name a few?
Pray and ask God for His strength to move forward. Share with Him your feelings and ask for His help. Ask for His forgiveness.
Pursue God and spend time with Him. Read His word daily for encouragement and wisdom. Your eyes will become open to the many promises and blessings He has in store for you!
Prune the unhealthy areas of your life that aren’t producing fruit. These areas may just be the reason why you aren’t moving forward. This includes pruning and letting go of people in your life who are not encouraging you in your relationship with Jesus and are actually pulling you further away from Him.
Practice and do what God’s word says. Be obedient to God’s commands. He will reward you in your faithfulness and obedience to Him.
Participate in weekly church services, bible studies, and small groups to develop Christian friendships and relationships that will help you and encourage you to keep moving forward.
God wants to bring you out so that He can bring you into the blessings, promises, and plans he has for your life!
If you are at your own Kadesh-barnea today, then make an intentional decision to move forward! Trust God and Rely on Him!
- Are you experiencing our own Kadesh-barnea today? Are you at your own “place of decision” like the Israelites?
- How long have you been in this place? And how long is long enough?
- Are you trusting Him today? Are you ready to move forward into the blessings and promises of God?
- How can we trust God and begin moving forward?
We can trust God and begin to move forward if we ponder, pray, pursue, prune, practice, participate. Review these above.