Author: Dr. Yvonne Huggins-Mclean
OBSTACLES or PROMISES
NUMBERS 13:17,23 When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified? How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees on it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land,” …. When they reached the Valley of Eshcol, they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them….[New International translation]
Numbers 13:30-31Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are….”
[New International translation]
The Israelites were slaves in Egypt for over 400 years. GOD called Moses to lead them out of Israel across the Red Sea. GOD promised the Israelites great things. For example, He promised them that:
1. HE (GOD) was THE LORD (not pharaoh), and GOD would bring them out from under the yoke of slavery and redeem them with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. (Exodus 6:6)
2. HE would take them as HIS own people, and HE would be their GOD. (Exodus 6:7)
HE would give them land (a promise GOD had made to Abraham, to Isaac and Jacob. (Exod. 6:8); HE promised them the land of Canaan. (Exodus 6:4)
GOD did what GOD said GOD would do.
The Israelites saw GOD defeat the pharaoh’s army and perform numerous MIGHTY, AMAZING, INCREDIBLE miracles (e.g., ten plagues on Egypt, including the angel of death passing over Egypt and killing the Egyptian firstborns, parting the Red Sea, manna from heaven, water from the rock, etc). The Israelites witnessed it all.
GOD was still with them, leading them, providing for them, and had protected them all along the way.
Now the Israelites had finally arrived at Canaan, the exact land that GOD promised them.
God instructed Moses to pick 12 men----a leader from each of the twelve tribes to spy out the land. Joshua (whose name in Hebrew is “Yehoshua,” meaning “THE LORD is my salvation”) and Caleb (whose name in Hebrew is derived from two Hebrew words, “kal” and “lev,” which when put together means “wholehearted,” “brave” or “faithful.” were among the chosen.
Forty days later the 12 men returned from their tour and reported to Moses. They all agreed that the land was magnificent, as evidenced by the huge cluster of grapes and other fruit they brought back, which they could hardly carry! But ten of the spy leaders then went on to list all the things they were afraid of, all the negative things they believed would prevent the people from conquering the land. All they could see were obstacles. The naysayers said they saw giants in the land, that the cities in Canaan were fortified by water, mountains, and coast. They complained and said that compared to the Canaanites, the Israelites were “like grasshoppers” and would surely be crushed because the Canaanites were stronger and taller. They completely discounted WHO GOD IS and WHAT GOD can do and GOD’s promises.
Instead of remembering, the bad news spread like fire among the Israelites. Fear was rampant. The people were terrorized by what they imaged would happen and refused to move forward. Instead, they wanted to go backward—to Egypt. The complaining became a cacophony. Some even suggested that GOD was trying to kill them. Others blamed GOD for what they “saw” as a disastrous situation. Some of the complainers, ready to lash out at anyone, even suggested stoning Moses and Aaron. There were even those who pronounced a death wish on themselves, saying: “We wished we had died in Egypt.” (Exodus 14:3-4)
All the complainers could “see” were obstacles. All they could envision was defeat.
Joshua and Caleb were the only two leaders to urge the people to go forward and conquer the land as GOD told them to do. However, despite Joshua and Caleb’s reassurances, and despite all that GOD had already done and HIS promises to the people of what HE would do, the ten leaders and all the people (except for Moses, Joshua, and Caleb) refused to enter the land.
Instead of remembering the promises of GOD, instead of remembering WHO GOD IS, instead of having faith and courage, the complainers defeated themselves and “missed out.” None of the complainers entered GOD’s “promised land.” None of them relied on the promises of GOD. They missed their blessings and lost an abundant life.
As for Joshua and Caleb, who were faithful, brave, and trusted GOD, GOD blessed them mightily and they entered the promised land.
As for Moses, called “the servant of the LORD,” (Deuteronomy 34:5) Moses lived to be 120 years old. When he died, “his eyesight was perfect” and “he was as strong as a young man.” See Deuteronomy 34:7, Living Bible translation. Moses never entered the promised land, but he too was also mightily blessed, for the LORD talked to Moses
“face to face.” See, Deuteronomy 34:10, Living Bible translation.
DON’T LET OBSTACLES PREVENT YOU FROM EXERCISING
We all have them. Some of them are physical. Some of them are mental. Some of them are a combination of the two. We might call them “our conditions.” Some of the physical conditions might be a bad back, stiff knees, weak arms or legs, stiff neck, hips, aching joints or muscles. Some of the mental conditions might be “self-consciousness,” “embarrassment,” “feeling overwhelmed,” or other “fears.” Some of the common exercise fears include: little or no time, too much to handle, low energy, lack of motivation, fear of injury, not knowing what to do, cost, etc. For some, whenever exercise “comes up” all they envision are their fears.
One survey of 1000 Americans found that 65% of women and 36% of men avoid the gym “out of fear of being judged.”
See, “How to overcome these common workout fears---and finally lose weight, easy solutions for feeling self-conscious in the gym, battling back pain and other common workout concerns that prevent you from losing weight,” by Stephanie Mansour, https://www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/how-overcome-these-common-workout-fears-finally-lose-weight-ncna952941.
If you have been blessed to have never had “a condition,” (physical or mental), as our ancestors used to say, “just keep living.” Physical conditions usually catch up with us all.
However, injuries or sometimes “physical conditions,” can happen to anyone, even if you work out “regularly.” One of the ways of preventing injury or working out if you are concerned about an injury is to start slow and remember to “warm up” and “cool down.” A “warm-up” prepares the body for exercise. It slowly increases your heart rate and loosens muscles and joints. The “cool-down” generally slows your heart rate back to normal and also provides a good stretch of muscles that you’ve just worked out. A dynamic stretch is generally important before and after a workout. See, Workout Injuries: Prevention and Treatment, https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/guide/workout-injuries-prevention-and-treatment#1.
Here are two general workout stretches that may help get you loose:
Stand facing a wall, a bit more than arm’s length from the wall.
Put one foot forward and bend your knee on that leg.
The other foot should extend back with a straight leg.
Using your arms to brace yourself against the wall, tuck in your stomach and slowly lean until you feel a stretch in the calf muscle of your back leg. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.
Repeat on the other side. Breathe in and out and try to relax as stretch your calf muscles.
Reclining Figure 4
Lie on the floor on your back with your knees bent and feet flat.
Cross one ankle over the opposite thigh.
Placing your hands under your thigh
Place your hands under your crossed thigh and gently pull your thigh toward your body. Be gentle with yourself as you slowly feel the stretch with the pull. Try to relax.
Your body will make a figure 4.
As you pull forward, you can use your elbow against the hand closest to your crossed thigh to maintain your figure 4. Again, be gentle and slowly stretch, don’t jerk.
Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.
Repeat on the other side.
For visuals and other stretches, see “Stretches to Get You Loose,” https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/ss/slideshow-stretches-to-get-loose.
As always, you should consult your personal physician if you have medical issues, are on medication, have balance problems, experience dizziness, or have other medical concerns. Your physician should be able to answer your questions about the best exercise for you or address your medical concerns.
Standing on THE PROMISES of GOD
There is an old church hymn entitled, “Standing on the Promises of God.” Another is entitled “No, Never Alone.” Another is “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.” There is another church hymn entitled, “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” These songs are about the promises of GOD and why we can trust GOD.
If you enjoy gospel music perhaps “God Is” or “Nobody But You,” “Great and Awesome,” “If God Said It,” or some other song reminds you of how GREAT GOD IS and how many times GOD has saved us in impossible situations. These songs and scripture cause us to remember GOD’s FAITHFULLNESS. They increase our faith. Remembering, praising GOD, recounting our past blessings help us to have the courage to “enter our promised lands.”
Remember, GOD has PROMISED to never leave us nor forsake us!!!
So, forget the obstacles. Forget the “conditions.” Remember GOD!!!
Stand on GOD’s PROMISES! Stand on GOD’s WORD! And, BE BLESSED!
To listen to some of the songs go to: Standing on the Promises of God: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHqGdln_8oENo Never Alone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXAfUZ_VGVsTis So Sweet to Trust In Jesus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofyjNrai1fUGreat is Thy Faithfulness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYklRYAJCk0God Is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GauUHGDiTXkNobody But You: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1vvnNm55cAGreat and Awesome: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vww-u9GaJIwIf GOD Said It: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLoX6oji9vw