(Editor's Note: The following is an excerpt from the late Dr. Neihof's last book which you can order HERE)
Opportunity is not patient. It is offered and then either seized or missed. In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Brutus describes it thus:
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.
Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat.
And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.
When the tide of Divine opportunity is met with our disobedience, it results in our wandering. When the tide of Divine opportunity is met with our obedient cooperation with God’s divine direction, blessings overflow.
God called the Hebrews out of Egypt in a miraculous, divine Exodus. After two years at Mount Sinai, He was ready to bring them into the Promised Land of Canaan. Kadesh Barnea was the port of entry. Twelve spies examined the land. Caleb and Joshua were optimistic and called the people to occupy the land of promise. Two spies reported with faith, optimism, and opportunity. Ten spies brought back reports of fear and failure. Giants, walled cities, and certain loss was their testimony. The Hebrews failed to enter the Promised Land and were cursed to wander in the wilderness of the Sinai Peninsula until an entire generation of unbelief had died.
Such a failure was not the consequence of simple error, a mistake in judgment, or a lack of adequate information. Such a failure to seize the opportunity to which God was calling the Hebrews was a consequence of rebellious unbelief. God indicated that this resistance was their tenth in a whole pattern of obstinate disobedience.
Patterned disobedience is the consequence of unbelief in God. This unbelief will doubt and question the very character of God, His self-giving love, and His foreknowledge of all that is good and blessed for His children.
Faced with the consequence and self-imposed curse over our choice, we often react saying that we will fix it. We will engage in delayed obedience. We will seize the moment. We deteriorate to fleshly actions to fix the problems we created and we are chased from the mountains of Kadesh by the enemy.
What an embarrassing double failure!
The first failure was a failure to enter. The second failure was a failure to accept God’s discipline. These failures of the Hebrews resulted in embarrassment for God and His Kingdom. Their failures diminished His name and reputation among the nations.
The consequence for the Hebrews was that every person above 40 years of age had to die in the forty-year wilderness wanderings. Unbelief had to die before the Promised Land could be accessed and attained.
John Wesley wrote: "Why are we not more holy? Chiefly because we are enthusiasts, looking for the end without the means."
Such was the tragedy of Kadesh Barnea. The Hebrews rebelled and resisted at the thought of God’s means. God’s means required accepting a minority report. God’s means entailed battle against giants. God’s means involved conquering Canaan now, by faith, through obedience, that would certainly grant God all the glory. God’s means meant obey or suffer the consequences.
The only answer to the chaos of our world is the message of holiness that impacts personal, familial, community, cultural, and social transformation—social holiness. The tide of opportunity is now.
Are you seizing God's tide of opportunity in your life?