In 1911 there were few great adventures left, few places on earth not already discovered. One of the last places on earth for men to explore was the Antarctic, the South pole. A race of epic proportions took place between Captain Scott and his British team, and Amundsen and his Norwegian team.
There are many reason why Amundsen won the race, but I am more interested in how victory affects our attitude, and how that in turn effects everything that we do. When Captain Scott and his team finally arrived at the South Pole, they were devastated to find the Norwegian flag already planted, it was clear they had lost the race. Eight hundred grueling miles in one of the most inhospitable places on the planet, only to find they had been beaten. Amundsen and his team managed to race back home in record time, knowing fine well that the world waited to laud and to cheer on the victors, fame and glory awaited them and they ran towards the prize. Scott and his team, on the other hand, had no such glory awaiting them, and they struggled, monumentally struggled to trek back the eight hundred miles they had just came. Sadly, every member of the team died in the effort, laden down with problems, and with biting bitterness and disappointment, they all died, one by one, in the frigid wastelands of the bottom of the earth.
Many of you will remember the man I spoke of a few weeks ago. Robert, the man who had his legs removed. Robert went to be with the Lord last Thursday. This remarkable man of 56, saved only a few months ago, just prior to having his first leg removed, died in the sure knowledge of his salvation, trusting God all the way to the end, or should I say, the beginning. He was remarkable because of his attitude. Not a trace of self pity, and this from a man who was just delivered from alcoholism and had been a sneering cynic all his life. What was his secret? He rejoiced in the victory of his salvation, he had a simple trust that his life was in Jesus' hand and he knew that God had a plan for him and that no matter what, he was going home to glory.
When we look at the children of God, the Israelites in the desert, we see a people will a real attitude problem. This is the same people who had witnessed the plagues poured out upon the Egyptians. This was the same people who had witnessed the sea open up before them. They had witnessed water pour forth from the Rock, they had witnessed manna fall from heaven and still they grumbled. When they reached the "promised land," they decided to send in spies to spy out the land. Did God tell them to spy out the land? He did not. Sending in the spies was the first step in outright disobedience and fear. As we know, the spies came back and announced that the land was full of giants, they gave a bad report, apart from two. Instead of taking a hold of God's promises, they fled back into the "terrible," wilderness in defeat and unbelief. Their attitude led to unbelief, disobedience, faintheartedness and ultimately their total destruction.
Lets look at what a proper attitude achieves. After 40 years, and the death of every one of the generation that God had delivered, God had raised up a new generation. When they came to the same spot their fathers and grandfathers had came to 40 years earlier, they sent in just two people, representative of the two who had given a good report all those years before. When the spies met Rahab, ti was told that all of Canaan feared the Israelites. They feared the God who had delivered them form Egypt and the God who had opened up the sea for them. Their report to Joshua was this "Truly the Lord has delivered all the land into our hands for indeed all the inhabitants of the country are fainthearted because of us."(Joshua 2:23)
Can you see what has happened? Now the things that afflicted the Israelites 40 years previously, have been turned around because of the attitude of the new generation to believe God. Now it is the enemy who no longer believes in himself because of the obedience of the Israelites to the promise of God. And because of their obedience, it is now the enemy that is fainthearted and the destruction comes upon the enemies of Gods people, it has been completely turned around.
Since the Old Testament is a physical shadow of our present spiritual reality, then we face the same dangers that the Israelites faced, only this time it is a spiritual danger. If our attitude is wrong, then we will surely dwell in a spiritual desert. Perhaps some of us reading this are already in and have been dwelling in a spiritual desert. The solution to our problems is to be led by the Lord. We have many promises made to us by the Lord, just as the Israelites had. The Israelites had been promised a land and were given it, all they had to do was believe and posses it. We too, as Christians, have been the recipients of many promises, and it is how we relate to these promises which will determine if we shall finish the race we begun in victory or defeat.
The unique thing about Christians is that we start our Christians lives in victory, the victory of Calvary where the Lord made an open shame of the enemy and defeated him on the cross. That is our starting point, our South Pole. Just as Amundsen raced back from the Pole towards glory and triumph, so we too as Christians race toward the Glory of the living God, an eternal glory that rises majestically above any glory man could ever bestow. The glory of heaven and the eternal presence of God should raise the spirits of Christian men and woman all over the world. How is it that many do not have the attitude of Amundsen, but of Scott? Rest assured, those who grumble and cannot see the victory, but drag their feet in despair, will suffer the same fate as Scott and his party, and the Israelites that fell in the desert.
The Lord Jesus has given us everything. All we have to do is believe and receive the victory that lies in Him, despite the circumstances. Remember, Scott and Amundsen faced the same inhospitable environment, the children of Israel also faced the exact same circumstances, it was not the circumstances that was the key to their success or failure, it was their believe in the promises of God. It was their knowledge that no matter what, The Lord God went before them and that victory was theirs simply by following God and His leading. I urge you my brothers and sisters, know that the Lord God goes before you, rise up and follow Him to victory, wherever He would lead you, for the perfect position for each and every one of us is to be in the very center of God's will, not our own desires.
The Lord God promises that He will never leave us nor forsake us, whether in sickness or in health, in riches or in poverty. He promises that if we take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, He would be there. He promises that even if we make our bed in hell, even there He would not leave us. He promises that even when walk through the valley of the shadow of death, He would comfort us and that He would prepare a table before us in the presence of our enemies. His promises are yes and amen, they are the Rock on which we stand, the Rock that quenches the deepest thirsts of all those who thirst after Him. Do not wander in the desert of lives circumstances, grumbling and dying, but cross over into life, a life of obedience and overcoming enemies by the power of God. Posses all that God has given you and you will finish the race in glorious victory and you will hear these glorious words of eternal value , "Well done good and faithful servant."
In the beauty of Holiness