Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: When God’s Word says, “Step out” and our natural human logic and reason says, “No way, it’s impossible,” what do you do? You go with the truth. You go with God’s revelation. You go with His Word. You step out. You move forward. You go in, and you possess the land.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, August 26, 2014.

You’re about to hear from a person who has faced many fears. If she had given in to those fears, you probably wouldn’t be hearing her voice right now. Find out how Nancy has stepped out in faith in order to come to you each weekday on Revive Our Hearts. She’s continuing in the series "Lessons from the Life of Joshua (Part 3): Trusting God for the Promised Land."

Nancy: We often close our programs in prayer, but today I'd like to start the program in prayer and ask the Lord to open our hearts as He speaks to us. So please join with me if you would.

Lord, we love You and we thank You for the privilege of studying Your Word. Thank You for this account out of the life of the Children of Israel that You have given for our instruction and as an example for us. I do pray that You would open our ears and our hearts to receive and respond to everything that You have for us this day. I pray that the words of my mouth, and even more importantly, the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight—oh Lord, my strength and our great Redeemer, in Jesus' name I pray it, amen.

We’re still with the Children of Israel at Kadesh, or Kadesh-barnea as it’s sometimes called, on the southernmost border of the Promised Land, and you say, “Can’t you get us into the Promised Land? When are we going to get there?”

That may be about what God was wondering at this time. Of course, God knew how this was all going, but God had said to the Children of Israel, “Go into the land. I have given it to you. I have promised it to you. I will go with you. I will overcome the enemies.” But the majority of the twelve leaders, the twelve spies from the twelve tribes came back from their recon trip and they said, “There are giants in the land. We cannot take this land.”

What did the Israelites say in response? Rather than responding in faith, they responded in fear, and they said, “We’re going to die. Let’s go back to Egypt. Get rid of Moses; get another leader; let’s go back to Egypt.”

I have a little bit of sympathy in my heart for the Jews at this point. From a human perspective, the fear and the unbelief of the Israelites is somewhat understandable. Wouldn’t you agree? There were, after all, giants and fierce enemies, real ones, standing between them and possession of the land. They’re saying they want to go back to Egypt, and you think, Who would want to go back there? They had been in slavery for 400 years. 

Yes, slavery in Egypt had been horrible, but at least those problems and that lifestyle was familiar to them. They knew what to expect, but in Canaan they faced a whole new set of challenges. God was asking them to move forward into a land where they had never been before.

Isn’t that sometimes what strikes fear in our hearts? God says, “Yes, you have this great thing in front of you,” but you say, “I’ve never gone this way. These are uncharted waters. This is new territory.” Keep in mind, for God, there are no uncharted territories; there are no uncharted waters. God has been there before, but we feel that fear of going into unfamiliar territory.

So did the Jews. The thought seemed overwhelming. The problem is that they left God out of the equation, and don’t we so often do that? We see the circumstances, we see the trials, we see the tests, but we forget God. They drew their conclusions based on natural sight and human reasoning apart from God, and that is so the nature of human flesh—to go based on what we can see, based on what we understand rather than based on the supernatural realm that we cannot see or understand.

I attend a Sunday school class at my church, and not too long ago the teacher said something that really resonated with me. I thought of this passage when he said this. He said, “When reason and revelation collide, we must go with revelation.” What does that mean?

Reason is what you can see, what you can understand, what you can observe, what you can understand with your natural mind—reason. What’s revelation? That’s the Word of God. That’s God’s ways, and oftentimes you can’t see them, you can’t understand them, you can’t prove them. He said, “When reason [what you understand with your natural mind] and revelation [that is what God has said in His Word] when those two collide, we have to go with revelation.”

When God’s Word says, “Step out” and our natural human logic and reason says, “No way, it’s impossible,” what do you do? You go with the truth. You go with God’s revelation. You go with His Word. You step out. You move forward. You go in, and you possess the land.

As we’ve been looking at this passage in Numbers chapters 13 and 14, we see that God’s people were supposed to fear the Lord. That’s the only One they were supposed to be afraid of, and that was a reverential awe of the Lord. What do they do instead? They feared the inhabitants of the land.

They were to go up against the enemies of God, and what do they do instead? They rebelled against God. Instead of going against God’s enemies, they went against God. They were fearful—full of fear—rather than being faithful—full of faith, and fear paralyzed them.

It caused them to imagine and expect the worst. It caused them to focus on the obstacles, the giants, the sons of Anak, and to focus on themselves. “We felt like grasshoppers.” So they focused on the giants, on themselves, the grasshoppers, rather than where their focus should have been. Where? On God.

Are you focusing on the giants, your circumstances? Are you focusing on yourself? You say, “I’m just a grasshopper in this situation. They’re going to step on me and smush me, and there will be none of me left.”

  • You focus on yourself, you’ll be fearful.
  • You focus on the giants, you’ll be fearful.
  • You focus on God, fear will be dissolved and faith will remain.

So Joshua and Caleb pleaded with the Children of Israel to exercise faith. We read this in the last session. They said in verse 7 of Numbers chapter 14:

The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land [a very, very good land]. If the LORD delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them.

Joshua and Caleb cried out to the people, “Believe God. Don’t give in to fear. Change your focus,” but all their pleading is to no avail. What do the people do?

Verse 10: “Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones.” We don’t want to hear the voice of revelation. We’re going with reason—stone them with stones. That would have been the end of Joshua and Caleb had God not intervened.

Isn’t that so often the case? When we stand in faith, we may put ourselves in harm’s way. I think of those three Hebrew young men in the fiery furnace. They said, “King, you can throw us in, but we will not bow; we will not bend. You may take our lives, but we will obey God even if it costs us our lives.”

Into that situation, that fiery furnace, came a fourth one, a Man like the Son of a God. The Son of God Himself appeared and delivered them out of that fiery furnace, and here comes to Joshua and Caleb’s rescue, to their aid, the God of the universe. God comes down in an awesome display of power to defend Himself and His believing servants.

Verse 10 goes on to say: “But the glory of the LORD appeared at the tent of meeting to all the people of Israel.” God shows up, and when God shows up, He’s not happy. God is grieved by the response of His people, the ten spies, and the whole congregation of Israel that would rather give in to fear than walk by faith.

God says in verse 11: “How long will this people despise me?” The people really hadn’t said anything about God, but by speaking evil of the land, the spies and the people were actually speaking evil of God. God says, They have despised Me. “How long will they despise me?”

Then a second question: “How long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them?”

  • How long will they despise Me? 
  • How long will they not believe in Me in spite of all the evidence and the reasons I’ve given them to trust Me?

I think often God could ask the same two questions of us in our Christian life, where we choose to live by fear rather than by faith. We’re not intending to despise God, but we are. I can just hear God saying as He looks on my life sometimes, "How long will you despise Me? And how long will you refuse to believe in Me in spite of all the evidence I’ve given you, all the reasons I’ve given you to trust Me?"

I want to take a little time in this session and share with you out of my own life a season in my life where God walked me through a crisis of faith in a time where this whole passage became very precious.

A few years ago we found ourselves going through some major changes in Revive Our Hearts.  And I think it is just a picture of what is going on here with the Children of Israel. Some of you remember that for the first five years of Revive Our Hearts, our program was just under fifteen minutes per day. It was a quarter hour radio program, and it took me, like, the first three years to get to feeling steady in that.

It was a big step of faith to go into the radio ministry to start with, to be coming up with 260 programs each year was a huge challenge, but again and again and again God took us right to the edge of the Red Sea and took me to the point where I would say, “I can’t do this,” and then every time, God would part the waters and take us through. He showed so many signs and evidences of His favor and His presence and was building up in my life quite a bank of reasons to trust Him.

Then our board began to think and to pray about expanding that program to a half-hour daily program. There were several reasons for this—I won’t go into all of that—but we spent a long time doing some research, looking at other ministries, looking at the radio industry, Christian radio, thinking mostly about “How can we impact women in a deeper way with the message of finding freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ?”

Across the board, people in the industry said, “You really need to take this to a half-hour program.” There were other considerations and concerns about doing this. We sought counsel. We sought the Lord. We didn’t do this hastily. We finally agreed together, “This is what we believe God is leading us to do.” About a year before the program actually became the thirty-minute program, we made the decision that we would move in that direction, and we began recording the longer programs.

Well, no sooner had we made the decision then my heart began to lapse into unbelief and fear and so many, many thoughts, as I look back on it, I was thinking at that time. First of all, I was fearful, “Would stations take the longer program?” We were on 500 and some radio outlets across the nation. We had a large radio network, and I thought, When we go from quarter hour to half hour, what if stations don’t have the extra time to give us? Maybe we won’t have a ministry anymore. Maybe we won’t be able to broadcast the program.

Then I thought, Will people listen to the longer program? I had a lot of fears about that, and Would the additional funding be there? Because more air time, more money. Would that be there?

I think the biggest thing that struck fear in my heart was considering the greater toll that this would exact on me in terms of preparation, more material to prepare, and more recording time. We used to be able to record about fifteen rograms in a day, now we do about eight, and I knew that meant there would be a lot more recording days. Where were we going to find those in the schedule? How would I find time in my already-full schedule to prepare additional material? I began to ponder the giants, dwell on the obstacles.

Maybe you’ve never been there, but I tell you, I went deep there, and for weeks and months I began to get myself in just a frenzy of terror about this decision that we had made. I had no peace about it. I was terrified. I was not walking in faith, and you know, fear fuels more fear.

There were so many consequences of unbelief as I look back at those months. Discouragement—oh my, discouragement. I just lived with discouragement. I lived with fear that was sometimes paralyzing. I felt I could not put one foot in front of the other one. 

At times there was a deep sense of despair, hopelessness—wanting to quit, wanting to give up, to run. There were times in my own heart and mind I said, “I don’t know if I’m even called to this ministry. I don’t know if I’m supposed to be doing this. I don’t want to be doing this. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life this way.”

I’m just being very honest with you about where I was during some of those months.

At times there was resentment that I was having to pay this price to serve the Lord while other people were able to have nights off and could enjoy their weekends. Bitterness, ultimately, is directed at God. I wasn’t conscious that it was in my heart, but as I look back, I think that was the case.

Unbelief made me vulnerable, emotionally and in other ways, to the attacks of the enemy, and I found myself at times, particularly at night, it’d be a long day, and then a dark night, and I’d be studying, and I’d find myself at times just besieged with anxiety, with fear, with resentment, vulnerable to the enemy’s attack in my emotions.

I did not have peace; I did not have joy. It took a physical toll on me. There was a lack of strength and a lack of energy. During that time I developed some chronic back pain that I had never experienced in my life.

I know as I look back on that that my spirit pulled others down. I was trying not to say what I was thinking and feeling to very many people, but our spirits communicate. There was a sense of pulling down others in this vortex of my doubt and fear.

I went through about a year, off and on, more or less, that way. Then there came a point, as we were getting ready to launch with the new program, I still did not have peace in my heart about this. Sometimes you don’t have peace in your heart because you made a wrong decision, but I had no sense of that.

I believe we had made this decision prayerfully and carefully. God had led through our board and our leadership team. We had been of one accord on this, so it wasn’t that I felt we had done the wrong thing. I just wasn’t happy about the decision we had made and just could not get my heart into it.

We had a board meeting as we were getting ready to go with the longer format and prayed and asked God to bless it. The stations had picked up the program. We could see so many evidences of God’s hand blessing us through this process, but I still had this deep unbelief and fear in my own heart.

Shortly after that board meeting where we had talked through some of these things, one of our board members, and this is where we need Joshuas and Calebs in our lives to come alongside and speak words of faith and confidence in the promise of God and to show us when we’re walking in unbelief.

One of our board members sent me an email and said,

I’ve been thinking and praying about you and this whole situation, and I believe, I could be wrong [it was a very kind email, let me just tell you that, but here was the bottom line, he said]. I wonder if you may have been all this past year resisting and rebelling against this change.

When I saw that word “rebelling,” that was a huge warning to me, because in my book, I can’t think of any sin unless it’s pride that is worse than the sin of rebellion, so that was a very strong word to me. He said,

Have you been resisting and rebelling against this change [then here’s what God really used to speak to my heart] and therefore, have you been resisting and rebelling against God?

I knew as soon as I read this that I had been resisting this change, but what I never stopped to think was that in my unbelief and fear and dragging my heels and kicking and screaming emotionally in my heart, that I had actually been resisting against God Himself.

God used that to break me. I began over the next hours and days—I just took it before the Lord. I said, “Lord, is this what You’re saying to me? Have I been rebelling against You in all of this?” The answer was, “Yes, you have been, and you’ve dishonored Me. You’ve reaped consequences of unbelief. You’ve pulled others down with you into unbelief.”

Over those next days, God began to wash me with His Word and His Spirit and His grace and to bring me to a place of repentance—because repentance is the only way out of unbelief. To say, “Lord, I have sinned. This is not just a problem. This is not just a challenge I’m facing. I have sinned against You with my unbelief that has been rebellion against You.”

Over those next days and weeks, God began such a sweet work of restoring my heart. I don’t want to say it happened overnight, although there were some very quick changes. God just began to set my spirit free, to restore a sense of peace and joy that I had not experienced much of through the course of that year. He began to give me a new perspective on the challenges.

Nothing in my circumstances had changed. We were still in the longer format—by that time we were on the air with the longer format—and with the challenges of study, preparation, and recording, God began to give me a perspective of confidence in the Lord. I still didn’t know how we were going to do this, but I knew that if God had called us to do this, then we could do it. We are able to go in because God is with us.

God began to clear my thinking. He began to restore me physically—that didn’t happen overnight. But over the months the back pain I had been experiencing went away. Is that all tied in? I don't know. I'm just telling you what happened. As I began to exercise faith and surrender, God began to restore my heart and to give a sense of confidence in His leading.

I have said to some of the people who have been a part of my life and a part of that process, “I’ve been a different woman since,” and again, it’s not because I can see all the outcome, it’s not because it all makes sense yet or I’ve got it all figured out. I never want to be in a place in life or ministry where I can figure it out without God or where I could manage without God. I’m still not in a place where I can manage without God, but I’m in a place where I’m leaning hard on the everlasting arms and finding His grace to be sufficient for every giant, every obstacle, every hurdle.

Do I ever lapse back into unbelief? Yes, I do, and I just have to counsel my own heart according to the truth of God’s Word. “God is with you. God has called you. God will take you there.” I’m thankful for people around me who speak truth into my life and remind me to walk in faith rather than in fear.

Your life is very different than mine. It’s very different than the person’s sitting next to you. It’s different than somebody else in your workplace or your family or your church, but faith is faith and fear is fear. So I want to ask you the question that someone asked me, and that people have continued to speak into my life:

  • Is there an area of your life where you are resisting and rebelling against the life of faith?
  • Is there an area of your life where you’re doubting God rather than moving forward in faith as He has directed you?
  • Are you living with fear or are you full of faith?
  • Is it possible that your resistance against your circumstances has actually been rebellion against God?

The pathway into the Promised Land is by way of faith. You want to enjoy the abundance, the freedom, the fullness, the fruitfulness God has for you? Then you need to be willing to run into the face of fear, to acknowledge that fear is ultimately rebellion against God, to lay down the rebellion and pick up the weapons of faith—the Word of God and the promises of God—and say, “Lord, by Your grace, I will move into this. I don’t see how we’re going to accomplish this. I don’t see how we’re going to make it financially if I take this step of obedience. I don’t see how my marriage is going to survive. I don’t see how my kids are going to make it. I don’t see how I’m going to survive if I obey You and Your Word, but when reason and revelation collide, I’ll go with revelation.”

Leslie: You can’t go with revelation—stepping out in faith—if you aren’t connected with God in prayer. Nancy will be right back to lead us.

You’ll also have to have God’s Word. We encourage you to be studying the Bible for yourself, and we also want to send you a resource that you’ll find valuable as you move forward in faith. It’s called Promises to Live By. The scriptural promises listed here will bolster your faith and encourage you to action.

We’ll send you this booklet, Promises to Live By, when you support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts with a financial gift of any size. Gifts from our listeners make it possible for us to continue bringing you Bible teaching each weekday. 

When you call with your donation this week, ask for Promises to Live By. We’ll send one copy per household when you call 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

You can’t lead other people if God is not leading you. We’ll talk about that tomorrow.

Now, let’s pray with Nancy.

Nancy: Lord, I pray that You would speak faith into the hearts of everyone listening this day and expose to us the wickedness, the evil heart of unbelief that has planted seeds in our hearts, and show us ways that we have dishonored You by unbelief and fear rather than walking by faith.

Lord, I pray that as women of God, we would be women of faith—full of courage, and that fear would be dissolved, and we would walk forth courageously and boldly and in godly ways into what You have called us to be and to do in our homes, in our work places, and in our churches. May we glorify You by moving forward in faith. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.


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