From “Feast of Tabernacles,” Chapter 11- Tabernacles – The Feast of Rest, continued
Now, who would suggest that the spies had taken the land just because they had explored it for forty days, and brought back a little fruit to Kadesh-barnea? And that is just exactly the position the Church of Jesus Christ is in today. We are still in the wilderness. It is true that God has given us of His Spirit; but only as a “foretaste;” only as the means by which we might search out the depths of God, even as the spies explored the land of Canaan. God has even given us a little taste of the realm of the Spirit; for in bestowing upon us the Holy Spirit we receive “the earnest of our inheritance,” or the “firstfruits of the Spirit” (Eph. 1:14; Rom. 8:23). Moses is careful to inform us: “Now the time was the time of the first ripe grapes” (Num. 13:20). Wonderful, indeed, is the gift of the Holy Spirit. Wonderful foretaste and earnest of our heritage in Christ Jesus! We have actually made a little raid into Canaan, and have come back with the fruit of the land. And if the first ripe grapes and the figs and the pomegranates are good–what must it be like to literally live in Canaan, to drink refreshing waters from wells which we have not digged, to eat the fruit of vineyards and olive trees which we planted not, and to inhabit houses which we built not. That is the rest that remaineth for the people of God. It is entering into a place that has already been prepared for us by the Spirit. It is the fullness, of which the Pentecostal blessing is but the firstfruits. It is the laying hold of that for which Christ hath laid hold on us, apprehending by the Spirit that for which Christ hath apprehended us. (Phil. 3:12). It is entering into, and appropriating, this resurrection-life by the Spirit.
ISRAEL’S MISTAKE IS THE CHURCH’S MISTAKE
Israel’s mistake consisted in disobedience and fear, and hence in unbelief. Had they believed in their God, they could not have feared the enemy and their strongholds. Let us notice these facts about Israel:
They searched out the land for forty days; they knew it was a good land, a land that flowed with milk and honey; they knew that God told them to go in and possess it; but they refused to obey God on the basis that they did not have the power and the authority to take it. It is not difficult for us to draw an exact parallel between this generation of Israel and the generation of the Church in which we live. For some years now God has enabled the saints to reach out by the Spirit and explore the realms of their heritage. The restoration of Pentecost at the beginning of the century opened up a new life in the Spirit, and thousands upon thousands of saints were forced out of the old religious systems because they grew discontented with the manna and the wilderness life and wanted more from God. God was very gracious and gave the grapes of Eschol and the figs and pomegranates–glorious provisions of His Spirit, to all who hungered and thirsted for the things of God. They have proved by experience that it is a good land, and one that floweth with milk and honey. They know, too, that God has commanded them to go in and possess the land. But sad to say, this same generation has refused to believe that they could take it, and God has allowed them to perish in the wilderness like their predecessors in Israel. Israel searched out the land for forty days; and so God said, according to the number of days, a day for a year, would they wander in the wilderness until they were consumed. Likewise has it happened in the Church. For well over forty years this latter day generation of Spirit-filled people have wandered in the wilderness, hundreds of thousands have gone back to the old denominational systems because their blessing did not last–(and how could it last? God just intended that it should be a foretaste), and by and large the whole movement is worse off than before, and has less success in the way of evangelism than many of our fundamental evangelical movements. We are not speaking of any particular sect, but of the whole movement of Spirit-filled people during the last forty or fifty years. GHW
There is a place of no return for the people of God. It comes when hunger for the things of God outweigh our propensity to stay in our spiritual comfort zones, no matter how little they afford us and satisfy our souls. Manna was given for a season in the desert to sustain the needs of the Israelites. It was never intended that they stay in the desert or nibble on manna forever. In fact, manna was never intended to fully satisfy their hunger. One day’s amount was just sufficient. They awoke each day needing more and God was gracious in His provision. When will our quest for the milk and honey and rich fruit of Canaan outweigh our reluctance and unbelief to follow the Lord and enter into His “riches in Christ Jesus?”