Tomorrow IS Promised

February 5, 2013

Sermon by Pastor Kevin R. Dudley ~January 27, 2013

Numbers 14:1-10

So often we have been told that tomorrow is not promised to us, we must seize the day-carpe diem; cherish  each moment as if it were our last…the cliches could go on forever. But on this last Sunday, Pastor Kevin Dudley shared a word from God telling the members of The Church at North Pointe that tomorrow IS in fact promised to us! Tomorrow was promised to us the day that Christ died on Calvary for our sins. God sacrificed His son so that we may have the tomorrow that he purposed for us. Our job is to believe in the tomorrow that God has promised so that we are able to receive what He has in store for us day after day after day, until his perfect plan is complete. 

In this passage of Scripture, the Israelites are stuck in the wilderness because they lost their faith in God’s promise to them. They lost their faith and limited their expectations of what God was going to give to them by normalizing their predicament. They let go of the promise for tomorrow and began to believe that where they were in that moment is where they will remain until they die. Don’t we often do the same thing? We find ourselves in unhealthy relationships and decide that we either don’t deserve better or won’t find better so we put up with someone who God never intended us to spend that much of our lives with. Or we look up and realize we’ve spent 5 years working at a dead end job but won’t take a leap of faith and try something different because we don’t want to jeopardize the security of the job we have; we stay overweight and unhappy because we worked out for a week and only lost three pounds so now we’ve decided that we’re just “big boned.” There are so many countless examples I could give you of how I, or someone I love, have remained in the wilderness because of a lack of faith in tomorrow. We settle into low expectations and allow small mindedness to hold us hostage because there is no room for big vision in a small mind. And, as declared in Proverbs 29:18 “where there is no vision, the people perish…” (KJV). Small mindedness is what causes us to settle for less than our complete blessing or miss out entirely. The Israelites failed to believe in God’s promise for tomorrow and allowed small thinking to win over being convinced that they would die right there in the wilderness and because of their lack of vision, they failed to make it to the Promised Land and did in fact die right there in their wilderness. We don’t have to end up like the Israelites – we can chose to believe God for more, believe God for better and understand that tomorrow is promised! There are a few things that we have to surrender, sacrifice and submit in order to see ahead to our tomorrow.

First, we have to surrender our need to know it all. This personally hit me directly in my heart because I am NOSEY and I always have been. And not the way a gossiper is nosey, I don’t collect information to share it with others, but just like Pastor said, I have a need to know it all. And this habit of my flesh has flowed over into my prayer life, “God send me a sign…give me a clue…show me the top right hand corner of tomorrow’s weather report” just ridiculous! This brings us back to the matter of trust. Trusting God is not needing to know it all because we know we are protected and safe and that no matter what happens, HE is in control. Our fear of the unknown is in direct conflict with our ability to trust God. We can learn from the Israelites; “Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” (verse three, NIV). None of this was any of their business and not knowing resulted in a lack of control. Not too long ago, I was questioning God and calling it prayer when he said to me, “Stop.” So I stopped and I thought about what I was doing and realized that the only reason I felt like I need God to reiterate what He had already promised me was because I was trying to control the terms and conditions of my blessing. That’s what the Israelites were doing. They wanted to know exactly where this Promised Land was and exactly when they would get there. They wanted to know exactly why they had to be delivered from Egypt and why things would be better for them once they made it to the Promised Land. They wouldn’t relinquish control to the Creator of heaven and earth and so they died in the wilderness, not realizing that they were being blessed in the midst of their struggle to get to their promised blessing of tomorrow. We have to understand that we can’t always know everything and have faith beyond what our minds can conceive (read Isaiah 55:8).

Among the Israelites, led by Moses, were two men who showed up for the Lord, Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh. While the Israelites were moaning and groaning to Moses, complaining about where God had taken them so far, Joshua and Caleb stood up and tried to remind them of the strength, power and protection that they had in the Lord. This is a reminder that while in the wilderness, we must sacrifice the best of what we have to offer. While the majority of the people were plotting on how to go about declaring a new leader (verse 10) Joshua and Caleb gave God their best and remained faithful. In times of struggle and discomfort it is easy to give in to the crowd. How many times do we find ourselves joining in the water-cooler conversations about how crummy the job is or how lazy the boss is? The challenge is to stand up and go against the grain. Rather than chime in with your experiences with your boss the next time your co-workers are fussing about her, try saying how grateful you are to have a job while most Americans are still searching. Or, instead of complaining about having to clean your house, take five minutes to praise God for giving you someplace warm and comfortable to sleep during this unpredictable winter, for giving you a meal to eat on the dishes that are now piled up in the sink, and for giving you clothes to wear day after day that are now stuffed in the clothes basket. The Word of God illustrates over and over that God deals differently with troublemakers than he does the rest of us, but let’s take this example. Joshua and Caleb in the beginning of verse eight, “If God is pleased with us…” IF meaning that, while God’s plan is finite, we receive our blessings on a conditional basis. Simply put, God will not bless our mess. If you moan and groan and are negative all the time or if you don’t show that you can be responsible with the what He’s given to you why should He continue to give more. I see a spoiled daughter and a dad that gives and gives and gives, while all along she acts out in school, is disrespectful to her fathers friends and family, and doesn’t carry herself like she is a beloved daughter. So instead of sending her on a trip to Maui for her 18th birthday, he sends her to Myrtle Beach…still sunshine, sandy beaches and a good time, but she fell short of paradise because her dad knew she wouldn’t fully appreciate the beauty of Hawaii and wouldn’t represent his name respectfully. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to settle for South Carolina when my Father is trying to send me to The Big Island, all because I didn’t give Him the very best of me. Sometimes God will hold out on our blessing because we aren’t representing Him well. As you continue to read Numbers chapter 14, you’ll see God tell Moses that He will strike the Israelites down with a plague because of their negativity and lack of faith and trust in Him. Moses responds to God by saying that the people of Egypt and the people of the land they were going to inhabit will hear about what God plans to do to the Israelites and say that He was unable to deliver them (verses 11-16, my paraphrase). The people were representing God then and we are representing Him now. At my job, we are encouraged not to list the name of our company on our Facebook page because they are afraid that we may not represent the organization well. Many of us have listed that we are Christian on our social network profiles, but are you representing God well online and in your day to day life? Consider the fact that junk that occupies the majority of your profile and your life may be representing the God you say you serve negatively and may be what stands between you and the blessing you’ve been asking for.

It’s hard to let go of the, tomorrow may not come, way of thinking, but we will find encouragement  when we submit to a tomorrow mentality. In verses 27-30 God says that he will not deliver the Israelites to the land he had promised because of their constant grumbling against Him but because of spirit within Caleb, both he and Joseph along with the children of the people, will be able to enter into the Land. That could have been enough for the people right? To know that even though they have displeased God and so will not enjoy the land of deliverance for themselves, their children would still receive the blessing that was promised. They could have found joy in the promise of tomorrow but they were stuck on their circumstance and did not see the joy in the fact that God’s promise would still be fulfilled. But skim back up to verse 8; If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us (NIV, emphasis mine). Will is a very powerful word, it implies fact. The sun will shine, the earth will spin, the night will fall and tomorrow will come. Caleb and Joshua made this statement based on fact, not possibility, but fact. If the Lord is pleased with us, then He will! Their faith is what pleased God and so He did give them the land He promised. We should spend our days knowing that God is leading us somewhere, having the mentality that we’re living for God’s promise of tomorrow. I am inspired by knowing that where I am now is not my final destination. God is not done with me yet and He’s not done with you!
Philippians 1:6 serves as a constant reminder of the promise of tomorrow. God will carry on the work he began in you until it has come to completion. Tomorrow IS Promised. Relinquish control and surrender your need to know it all trusting God the whole way through and not only when things are good, make sure to represent God well and sacrifice the best of what you have to offer -His reputation is on the line, and when you notice yourself about to give in to the temporary circumstance you find yourself in today, submit to a tomorrow mentality. God has given you the promise of tomorrow, trust that He will work everything out.


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