“Now the time that it took for us to come from Kadesh Barnea , until we crossed over the brook of zered was 38 years, until all the generation of the men of war perished fro, within the camp. As the Lord had sworn to them. Moreover the hand of the Lord was against them to destroy them from within the camp until they all perished.” –Duet. 2:14
I don’t know what promises you’re waiting for. I don’t know how your life may be in shambles, but I know what that can feel like, when it feels like you are dying inside. When parts of you are falling off and your shedding the past like an old snake skin. I do know that what’s underneath is far more radiant. I do know that once everything in us that was holding us back is gone then it’s time to go in.
According to the book of numbers ‘men of war’ were considered ‘any man 20 years and up able to fight.’ They were the strongest, ablest, men of Israel and the ones who would have been chosen to conquer Canaan. Somewhere between Goshen and the Jordan these men lost courage in God. They looked to their own inadequacies and became unwilling. These men had never been trained for war, raised with weapons or wielded swords. They had been raised to cower and not speak up or out against those bigger than themselves. These men had another trait, they were faithless. They were afraid to go in against the “men of great size” and take possession of the land. They didn’t know God, they didn’t trust him, they walked in the way they had always walked with fear and intimidation, self-preservation and logic. Even after seeing seeing God’s mighty power wrought on their behalf, they couldn’t muster enough faith. God wasn’t asking them to be warriors and take possession with their strength, but with their faith. He wanted them to look to HIS strength, the same strength he used to deliver them from the Egyptians. Belief in God’s word and might was the key and they had misplaced it. Their consequence was to wander without a home until those who displayed faithlessness perished. The children of those who cowered would enter once every man of war was dead. During that 38 years of circling the mountain, eating manna, packing and unpacking the tabernacle, and seeing God’s faithfulness, the children grew. They grew up hearing the accounts of God’s wonders in Egypt, these children were not crippled by the oppression of Egypt. They were raised in the dessert and saw God providing every day for their most basic needs. The children would enter.
I have men of war within me, within my ‘camp’. perhaps you do to. These men of war are the strength of our father’s loins. Those inherited traits which rule against Gods desires for us. Pride, violence, aggression, anger, doubt, fear, lust, power and self-preservation. They are the parts of us crippled and wounded by the past, our sins or those who sinned against us. We have these men of war, but we will never go to war or inherit the promises of God as long as they thrive within . It’s not men of war who are able to fight against the enemies in life, but God alone will gain victory a child knows this , but men forget. God purposes that our “men of war” perish. This perishing takes time and wilderness wandering. But once every man of war has perished then it is time to receive.
Jesus said, “Unless you become like a child you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven” – Matthew 18:3
God had told Israel it will be your children who will enter the land and take possession of it. God’s hand may be against the man of war or the man of flesh to destroy him until all that remains are the traits of a child, love, trust, faith, humility, innocence, and purity of heart. Perhaps when everything seems to be crumbling around us God is destroying the men of war within us- so that we can rise up and take possession of the Promised Land.