The Israelites went ahead of God by organizing an army, planning a strategy, and striking out on their own. But when the enemy saw them, they chased the Israelite soldiers “as bees do” and destroyed them (see Deuteronomy 1:44).
I have seen horrible cases of believers who have never entered into God’s rest. The Lord brought them to a place of severe testing—a family crisis, a financial struggle, a marriage problem—but they did not wait for God to act. Instead, they accused Him of neglect and tried to solve their crises on their own. Today, those believers have no rest, no peace, no sense of God’s presence, and they live in constant doubt. They seem to go from one crisis to another and all they can talk about is their latest problem. Yet every bit of their confusion is caused by one thing: unbelief.
The Psalmist says, “We spend our years as a tale that is told” (Psalm 90:9). This psalm is speaking of unbelievers. What is the title of their tale? It is These All Lived and Died in Vain. It’s the same story we hear people tell of unbelieving grandparents: “They lived all their years in gloom. They did nothing but murmur and complain and they died alone and forgotten.”
This is the dread of unbelief. It cuts off your spiritual history, so that all that’s remembered of you is a wasted life. When Israel’s young generation asked about what happened to Grandma and Grandpa, they were told, “They murmured and complained all the time. They had nothing to live for, so they just sat around waiting to die.”
True believers are determined to trust God even if their prayer isn’t answered. It doesn’t matter if all their goods are taken away, or even if they face death. They desire to enter God’s rest. What is the evidence of such a life? They have “ceased from [their] own works” (see Hebrews 4:10). They no longer lie awake at night trying to solve their problems in their own wisdom and skill. Instead, they turn everything over to Jesus. It doesn’t matter whether they end up in gain or loss. Their only focus is that God has a plan, and that He is working it out in their lives.