Sitting It Out

The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above. Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in. – Numbers 14:29-30 NKJV. 

Can you imagine a nine day traffic jam? It has been taking place on a highway going to Beijing, China (In 2010). Reportedly, the traffic jam is nearly over caused by road work but traffic is backed up into Inner Mongolia and into the province of Hebei. We have our share of traffic jams here in the United States, and I have sat in a few for more than an hour, but can you imagine nine days? There must be some really cranky people sitting in those trucks and cars! While they have been sitting out everything they usually do, they still have to live. There have been complaints about inflated food prices. They have been at the mercy of whoever will bring them food and water, sitting, and sitting, and sitting for nine days! 

In our spiritual lives, sometimes we are forced to the sidelines by God. The Children of Israel had this happened to them after they refused to go into the promised land after the majority report of the spies. For 40 years the Children of Israel were sitting on the sidelines, and it was a forced sit out. They were forced out of spiritual action because of their complaining and unbelief. Jonah had a briefer period that he was forced to sit out after his rebellion against God. Jonah sat in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights until he finally repented deciding he would do what God wanted.

In other situations, the Bible records those who through no sin of their own are forced to the sidelines. Joseph of the Old Testament is one of those individuals. His brothers sold him into slavery, and he was taken to Egypt. He rose to prominence in Potiphar’s house until Potiphar’s wife lied about his attacking her. Joseph was then sitting it out again, this time in prison, until finally through his interpretation of dreams (Joseph makes clear the ability was given to him by God) he is again placed in the action. God uses Joseph to save the people of Egypt, and his own family. Joseph says to his brothers at the end of the narrative in Genesis 50:20, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”

Are you sitting it out? Is it because of sin in some form? Rebellion, complaining, grumbling, or immorality of some type? If so I urge you not to go the route of the Children of Egypt wandering around in the wilderness for 40 years. Instead, repent quickly, even quicker than Jonah did, and move forward with your life. The best way to handle sin and avoid sitting out the spiritual action; is to immediately confess, and forsake it, asking for the Lord’s forgiveness.

Then there is the possibility that you have been sitting it out because of reasons unknown to you like Joseph. You are in a holding pattern, and you are waiting, and waiting, and waiting. Trust the Lord, because He means it for good. Take advantage of the time to better prepare yourself for the challenge that He has ahead for you. Remember Isaiah 40:30-31, “…those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” And as the apostle Peter says in 1 Peter 5:6-7, “…humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

(In our spiritual lives sometimes we are forced to the sidelines by God.)

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