Wandering In Disobedience

Back in the 90s as a college student, I was the bass player for a band called fishHook. We were an up-and-coming band on the Christian music scene at the time, and while we didn’t make it to the “big time”, we did get to share the stage with some pretty big bands in the 90s like All-Star United, The Waiting, Plumb, and Third Day. It was a lot of fun….until it wasn’t.

I felt the call the to ministry the summer after my senior year of high school. I knew God wanted me in youth ministry, so I enrolled at Kentucky Christian College, now University, for the 1992-93 school year. Given the expense of a private, Christian college and my parents’ lower income, I couldn’t afford a huge load of classes. Due to that, I could only take about 12 credit hours a semester. I’m sure you’ve figured out by that number that it took me longer than 4 years to finish school. This is why I was still there in the fall of 97.

That fall, I joined the band, and we started having some success and a lot of fun. By the fall of 98, we were on the precipice of becoming a full-time traveling band. There was only one problem. I was a youth minister at a church in Versailles, KY. I was doing what God called me to, but instead of pursuing that full-time and continuing in His plan, I chose a different path. I resigned from my ministry in January of 1999 and my pursuit of Rock and Roll for Jesus began. I figured, “This is a ministry, too. God will honor it.” I was wrong.

Over the course of 1999, the band just didn’t get along. We were talented. We were gaining a growing popularity. We had record labels interested in us. Unfortunately, we were unraveling as a group. In July of that year, I volunteered for a week of church camp at Round Lake Christian Assembly. During that week, I began to realize that God didn’t call me to play bass. He called me to minister to young people, and nothing I did outside of that would work. I decided I was going to quit the band after I found a church to minister with, and the strangest thing happened. The band started to gel. We were getting along again, and the band started to be really fun. I knew why. In August, in the classroom of a church in North Carolina, I finally told the band I would be leaving at the end of the year. Our lead guitarist, Dusty, just looked at me in shock and said, “But we’re all getting along now!” I then told him what had happened that year. God had a plan for me, but I had my own. His plan would eventually lead to joy, incredible ministry, and peace in my life. My plan led to frustration, infighting, and misery for the band. His plan was better, but I still needed to do what He asked.

When God freed the Israelites from slavery to the Egyptians, He had a plan for them, and He had a land for them. It was called Canaan. He instructed Moses to send out men from each of the tribes to spy on it and see what this land looked like. 

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel. From each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a chief among them.” So Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran, according to the command of the Lord, all of them men who were heads of the people of Israel.
Numbers 13:1–3

The men were sent out and told to report back what they had seen in order for Moses to know how they should take the land. After spending 40 days spying on Canaan, the 12 men came back with very different thoughts. 

At the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land. And they came to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the people of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh. They brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. And they told him, “We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the Negeb. The Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the hill country. And the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and along the Jordan.”
But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.” So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.”
Numbers 13:25–33

Of the 12 men that went into the “Promised” land, only Joshua and Caleb knew that it was theirs for the taking and God would see them to victory. Because of the other 10 spies, the people rebelled and were afraid of taking the land and asked Moses to reconsider. Moses then went to God and told Him they would not be taking the land, even though it was promised to them by God. As I’m sure you already know, this did not go well.

And the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, “How long shall this wicked congregation grumble against me? I have heard the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they grumble against me. Say to them, ‘As I live, declares the Lord, what you have said in my hearing I will do to you: your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness, and of all your number, listed in the census from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against me, not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, who you said would become a prey, I will bring in, and they shall know the land that you have rejected. But as for you, your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years and shall suffer for your faithlessness, until the last of your dead bodies lies in the wilderness. According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, a year for each day, you shall bear your iniquity forty years, and you shall know my displeasure.’ I, the Lord, have spoken. Surely this will I do to all this wicked congregation who are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall come to a full end, and there they shall die.”
Numbers 14:26–35

This began a time where none of the adult Israelites, not even Moses, would get to step foot into the promised land, and instead would wander around the wilderness for 40 years. Their disobedience was their downfall. Only Joshua and Caleb were allowed to walk on the land God would eventually give them. 

For us as Christians, we can learn a ton from this. When God calls us to do something, we need to respond with only one answer, “Yes Lord.” When we avoid our calling, we are avoiding the best possible life God could offer us. Remember, His wisdom trumps ours every time.

For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
1 Corinthians 1:25

The sin of disobedience can be masked by us trying to be wise, but how wise is it really to ignore when God tells us where to go? Right now, you may be struggling with a decision to do what God is calling you to do. It may change your financial standing. It may mean moving your family. I can tell you from personal experience. Don’t avoid Canaan. Take the land.

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