When the Lord says "No"

“That is enough,” the Lord said. “Do not speak to me anymore about this matter. Go up to the top of Pisgah and look west and north and south and east. Look at the land with your own eyes, since you are not going to cross this Jordan. But commission Joshu and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead this people across and will cause them to inherit the land that you will see.” -God (Deuteronomy 3:26-28).

When I was young, I was taught that God answers in three ways, “Yes”, “No”, and “Wait.” As I grew with Jesus, I found that I love the answer “Yes.” I can cope with the answer of “Wait”. However, when God says “No”, it’s not always a pretty sight. So when I read this about how God said “no” to Moses, I had to start paying attention. Previously Moses requested to cross the Jordan and lead the Israelites to the Promised Land, but God says “No”. I can’t even imagine how Moses must feel at this moment. Granted he was talking to God, and experienced a touch of Him first hand, but to be rejected in such a fashion must have been at the least, hurtful. After all he only led the craziest, most ungrateful, always complaining group of people for forty years. I would hope that he gets to reap the reward and cross into the promised land. But God didn’t allow it. He said, “No”. To make matters worse, God tells his Moses to get Joshua, his leader in training, ready to lead the people to the Promised Land. That alone is humbling in itself. But Moses does it, and obeys God through the pain, and hurt of rejection.

Rejection, no one likes it. It sounds somewhat cliche to say that, “Well, you got to trust God and know that He knows best.” That’s nice and all, but in the middle of a rejection, when you are trying to cope with the pain, that’s not exactly what I would like to hear. The truth be told, I don’t want to be told “no”, especially if I worked my butt off like Moses to reach a certain goal. I would feel entitled, owed, or deserving of going to the Promised Land. But the reality is that I must submit to God, and trust His plan. After all, He’s God. I personally may not like it, but in reality I have such a finite mind and limited vision, that I cannot see what God can see. But the feelings of rejection, anger, resentment, frustration, hurt, all begin to fester in my heart and that is when I must give it over to Christ. Give him the all those feelings, and pain, and trust He knows what He is doing. I must learn to react like Moses, to accept the will of God, and faithfully do what he commands and do it with joy. Because it’s really all about Him, and I know He loves me and because of His love for me, I can trust in whatever His plans are.

Thank you Lord for the lessons of “No”.


Scott Sunaoka said…
Mark, brother, you are a better man than I. I know the Bible tells us to be thankful in all things and to appreciate those times of character building, but truthfully, I don't know if I'm ever truly thankful for it. Hopefully you'll get more yeses than nos in your future.

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