A Place of Decision

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?

1. Ponder 

Ponder and reflect upon what is holding you back from moving forward. Comfort, complacency, disobedience, pride, lack of faith to name a few?

2. Pray 

Pray and ask God for His strength to move forward. Share with Him your feelings and ask for His help. Ask for His forgiveness.

3. Pursue 

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!

4. Prune 

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.

5. Practice 

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.

6. Participate 

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!

Reflection Points:

  1. Are you experiencing our own Kadesh-barnea today? Are you at your own “place of decision” like the Israelites?
  2. How long have you been in this place? And how long is long enough?
  3. Are you trusting Him today? Are you ready to move forward into the blessings and promises of God?
  4. How can we trust God and begin moving forward?

Action Points:

We can trust God and begin to move forward if we ponder, pray, pursue, prune, practice, participate. Review these above.

Hurry Up! …and Wait.

Hurry up! …and wait. Have you ever felt this way?

I am for the most part a very punctual person. I am usually on time…or even early for just about everything…even with my 2 boys and their craziness!

Just the other day…I was rushing to an appointment and I made it right on time. Thank goodness! I checked in and then sat down in the waiting room. And I waited…and waited …and waited. Finally, I was called in by the nurse.

I hurried…rushed…probably sped (not recommended) to this appointment…only to wait in the waiting room. I did my part…getting there on time…but I had to rely on someone else’s timetable to be seen.

Have you had a similar experience? I am sure we have all had many!

Waiting rooms are designed for just that…waiting! So why are we so surprised when we actually have to wait?!

Maybe because for some reason waiting in waiting rooms is not very comfortable. Waiting rooms are a place of inaction…or lack of activity. And that’s why in doctor’s offices, hospitals, and other places…the personnel often offer coffee, drinks, and sometimes even food to those who are waiting in order to make them more comfortable. There are magazines to read and even TV’s to watch.

But does that really make us comfortable? Even with these amenities, who would choose to spend their time…just waiting?

Even the Psalmist expressed his uncomfortable feelings when he wrote Psalm 130:6…

My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning… NIV (Not very exciting and notice he repeated himself too!)

In this modern day and age…no one likes to wait…for anything! And what makes it harder and more frustrating is when your waiting is dependent upon someone else and their timetable…especially God.

Are you waiting on God for something in your life today?

Our lives in this world are God’s waiting room.

I absolutely love this excerpt I recently came across from Max Lucado’s book “You’ll Get Through This” called God’s Waiting Room. He says…

Take a moment and look around you. Do you realize where we sit? This planet is God’s waiting room. T

The young couple in the corner? Waiting to get pregnant. The fellow with the briefcase? He has resumes all over the country, waiting on work. The elderly woman with the cane? A widow. Been waiting a year for one tearless day. Waiting. Waiting on God to give, help, heal. Waiting on God to come. We indwell the land betwixt prayer offered and prayer answered. The land of waiting.

Are you in God’s waiting room? If so, here is what you need to know: while you wait, God works.

“My Father is always at his work,” Jesus said (John 5:17 NIV). God never twiddles his thumbs. He never stops. He takes no vacations. He rested on the seventh day of creation but got back to work on the eighth and hasn’t stopped since.

Just because you are idle, don’t assume God is. “Be still, and know that I am God” reads the sign on God’s waiting room wall. You can be glad because God is good. You can be still because he is active. You can rest because he is busy.

Remember God’s word through Moses to the Israelites? “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD … The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace” (Ex. 14:13–14). The Israelites saw the Red Sea ahead of them and heard the Egyptian soldiers thundering after them. Death on both sides.

Stand still? Are you kidding? But what the former slaves couldn’t see was the hand of God at the bottom of the water, creating a path, and his breath from heaven, separating the waters. God was working for them.

God worked for Mary, the mother of Jesus. The angel told her that she would become pregnant. The announcement stirred a torrent of questions in her heart. How would she become pregnant? What would people think? What would Joseph say? Yet God was working for her.

He sent a message to Joseph, her fiance. God prompted Caesar to declare a census. God led the family to Bethlehem. “God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him” (Rom. 8:28 CEV).

To wait, biblically speaking, is not to assume the worst, worry, fret, make demands, or take control. Nor is waiting inactivity. Waiting is a sustained effort to stay focused on God through prayer and belief. To wait is to “rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; … not fret” (Psalm 37:7).

So perfectly said!

A key point from this passage is that unlike the waiting in waiting rooms…Waiting is not inactivity in God’s waiting room. And realizing that God is busy doing His part working on our behalf…we need to do our part resting in Him and waiting patiently for Him.

Waiting is a sustained effort to stay focused on God through prayer and belief.

How many of you know that focusing on God is intentional and does take some effort? Actually a lot of effort! Right?!

And because it takes effort…we have a tendency to skip what it takes to focus on God…and just wait…causing us to focus on our situation which is much easier.

How can and should we wait in God’s waiting room?

1.Waiting in God’s waiting room means reminding ourselves and trusting that God is in control no matter what.

A king’s heart is a water stream that the LORD controls; he directs it wherever he pleases. Proverbs 21:1 ISV

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3 NIV

2. Waiting in God’s waiting room means we don’t take matters in our own hands when God doesn’t move fast enough! Remember He is not idle. And remember that God’s delays are not necessarily His denials.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. Isaiah 55:8 NLT

3. Waiting in God’s waiting room means praying without ceasing or giving up even when we don’t think He hears us. He hears you!

Be unceasing in prayer [pray perseveringly] …1 Thessalonians 5:17 AMP

I love the Lord, because he has heard [and now hears] my voice and my supplications. Psalm 116:1 AMP

4. Waiting in God’s waiting room means praising and thanking Him through the waiting period. It is amazing how our gratitude will so quickly change our attitude. Thanking and praising Him allows us to focus on His greatness and power.

Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV

5. Waiting in God’s waiting room means studying God’s Word and His promises.

Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. Joshua 1:8 NLT

Waiting in waiting rooms can certainly be hard…but waiting in God’s waiting room…is no doubt…harder especially when you have been waiting a long time.

But we must remind ourselves that God is busy working on our behalf. He is never idle…He is never on vacation…He never twiddles His thumbs…He never stops working. He is doing His part in the waiting room…busy working on our behalf!

So how about you?

Are you doing your part in God’s waiting room?

Reflection Points:

  1. Are you waiting on God for something in your life today?
  2. Is it hard for you to wait in God’s waiting room?
  3. How should we wait in God’s waiting room?

Action Points:

  1. Waiting is not inactivity in God’s waiting room. Waiting is a sustained effort to stay focused on God through prayer and belief. Focusing on God is intentional and takes work.
  2. Be encouraged that we can wait in God’s waiting room by intentionally focusing on God through the practical ways stated above. Review them.