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Numbers 13:4-24 (NIV)
4 These are their names: from the tribe of Reuben, Shammua son of Zakkur; 5 from the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat son of Hori; 6 from the tribe of Judah, Caleb son of Jephunneh;7 from the tribe of Issachar, Igal son of Joseph; 8 from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea son of Nun; 9 from the tribe of Benjamin, Palti son of Raphu; 10 from the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel son of Sodi; 11 from the tribe of Manasseh (a tribe of Joseph), Gaddi son of Susi; 12 from the tribe of Dan, Ammiel son of Gemalli; 13 from the tribe of Asher, Sethur son of Michael; 14 from the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi son of Vophsi; 15 from the tribe of Gad, Geuel son of Maki. 16 These are the names of the men Moses sent to explore the land. (Moses gave Hoshea son of Nun the name Joshua.)
17 When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. 18 See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. 19 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? 20 How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” (It was the season for the first ripe grapes.) 21 So they went up and explored the land from the Desert of Zin as far as Rehob, toward Lebo Hamath. 22 They went up through the Negev and came to Hebron, where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, lived. (Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23 When they reached the Valley of Eshkol, they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them, along with some pomegranates and figs. 24 That place was called the Valley of Eshkol because of the cluster of grapes the Israelites cut off there.
Israel is on the brink of realizing their dream of the promised land. How do you think they felt?
Holy God, I can imagine that after being in the wilderness for all those years, the people of Israel were looking at the unknown land and upcoming changes in their lives filled with hope, anticipation, excitement, wonder, anxiousness and a bit of fear of their new beginnings. I have felt many of those same feelings as I have approached changes due to new seasons in life such as starting a new school, getting married, having kids, getting a new job, moving to a new home and contemplating retirement. Actually our congregation is going through such a time right now. We have been in a sort of a wilderness for a period of time praying and believing that You would provide us a new pastor. You blessed us with Pastor Mike. We are grateful for your answered prayers and trust You for our future. But the future is still unknown and undoubtedly there will be changes. With changes come questions like; what will be different, what can I do, and where is God going to lead our congregation? We move toward our new beginnings filled with all those emotions of hope, excitement, anxiousness, anticipation, and wonder. But as we do, we trust that You are continuing to lead us and guide us, just as You did while we were in the wilderness. We pray that Your church will grow in Your Spirit and flourish as a result of our faithfulness, service, and worship. Thank You for leading us to new beginnings at Shepherd of the Hills. Amen