“Kadesh Barnea: Let Go Of The Familiar To Embrace The New”

Do you have dreams and desires that haven’t come to pass yet? Has God promised you a Promised Land you haven’t obtained yet? So many people have settled for less then what God wants for their lives. We can learn from the Israelites in the Bible. They settled for complaining and bondage instead of obtaining their promised land. Let us not be like the Israelites, but like Joshua and Caleb who knew they could conquer the giants and possess the land God promised them.

First two years of wondering the Israelites experienced after leaving Egypt:

After the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, they entered the Wilderness of Ethem, which was connected to the Wilderness of Shur. At Shur they found no water and went to Marah, but the water was very bitter there. They complained and God heard their murmurings. Moses cried out to God and God showed Moses a tree and when Moses cast the tree into the waters at Marah, they became sweet. Then they came to Elim where there were 12 wells of water and seventy palm trees; so they camped there. After Elim they traveled to the Wilderness of Sin. It was in the Wilderness of Sin that they cried out and longed to go back to Egypt and die there instead of the desert where they thought they would die. It was in Sin that the Israelites received Manna from heaven and quail to eat, all because of murmurings. It was also in this Wilderness that God started to appear to them in a cloud by day. From the Wilderness of Sin they went to Rephidim. At Rephidim the people complained because of lack of water. This is where Moses struck the rock at Horeb and water came out of it. It was at Rephidim that the Israelites fought with the Amalekites (descendants of Esau). This was the first war the Israelites fought. As long as Moses lifted his arms they prevailed and when he lowered his arms, the Amalekites prevailed. Also Jethro, Moses Father-in-law, told Moses to set up Judges to help Moses deal with the people. Then from Rephidim, they traveled to the Wilderness of Sinai where Moses received the 10 commandments. This is where the tabernacle was built and where they followed the cloud from the tabernacle to the next place. From the Wilderness of Sinai, which was the area of Kibroth Hattaavah and Hazeroth. From there they traveled to the Wilderness of Paran, which included Kadesh-Barnea, and also included the Wilderness of Zin.

Now here is the story:
At Kadesh-Barnea Moses sends out the 12 spies. Ten came back with a negative report and the people complained and murmured even more. Up till’ now, there has been much murmuring, but now they were at the threshold to obtain the Promised Land.

The good report:
Numbers 13:30
“Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.”

The bad report:
Numbers 13:31 – 33
“But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it were men of great stature. There we saw the giants; and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

They still complained and wanted to go back to Egypt. But this complaining was even worse than previous complaining:

Numbers 14:1 – 4
“Then all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the LORD brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt? So they said to one another, ‘Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.”

From Jacob going to Egypt to live with Joseph, to the erection of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, was 431 years [1875 B.C. – 1445 B.C.] They were in Bondage for 400 years and now they wanted to go back?!

The children of Israel were planning a revolt! They were planning on changing leadership to match what they wanted to have happen. Their complaining and murmuring clouded their viewpoint. They only listened to the negative report. They heard both, but listened to the negative. They wanted to go back to what they knew.

But this is what they knew:
•Being a slave to Pharaoh
•Never owning their own land – (They were God’s chosen people to be blessed with their own land.)
•They could not do anything they wanted.
•They were SLAVES!

Wanting to go back to Egypt was holding on to the familiar. It was settling for so much less then what God wanted to give them.

The positive guys, Joshua and Caleb, tore their clothes and said:

Numbers 14:7b – 10
“The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’ Only do not rebel against the LORD, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread (they shall be as food for our consumption); their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them. And all the congregation said to stone them with stones.”

They wanted to go back to the familiar. How quickly they forgot about the bondage and slavery they had to endure. This place was a place for trusting God. This place, Kadesh-Barnea, was at the threshold of the “New” they had to reach for. They were more scared of the “New” then they were of going back to the terrible life style in Egypt. They were more afraid of the new then dying in the wilderness!

You would think walking through the Red Sea would be enough to trust God that He would bring Victory. You would think watching the water at Marah turn from bitter to sweet would convince them. Not to mention manna from Heaven and the quail to eat everyday. How about the water coming out of the rock that Moses hit at Horeb? Remember the victory they received battling the Amalekites, or the Ten Commandments received by Moses on Mount Sinai, or even the cloud by day that they followed and the pillar of fire by night?

Kadesh-Barnea means consecrated or holy. This is a deciding place. It is a place God ordained to bring the Israelites into the promised land. A “set apart” place. It was a place where they needed to search their hearts. A place of holiness. They were too wrapped up in their “issues” and “fear” instead of seeing what God was doing and where God was bringing them.

Kadesh-Barnea is very significant in the History of the Israelites

Special events that took place at Kadesh-Barnea:
•Miriam died and was buried.  Numbers 20:1 “Then the children of Israel, the whole congregation, came into the Wilderness of Zin in the first month, and the people stayed in Kadesh; and Miriam died there and was buried there.”
•Moses sent out the 12 spies to bring back a report of the Promised Land (Num. 13:17 – 30) [This was 2 years after leaving Egpyt] On their return, a revolt broke out, and as a punishment the people were condemned by God to wander for 38 years.
•Korah rebelled against Moses here
•The people murmured again and even more intensely here
•Aaron’s rod budded here (Num. 16 and 17)
•Near Kadesh Moses smote a rock and water came forth… (Num. 20:7 – 11)

The Israelites went around and round Kadesh-Barnea. They could have left Kadesh after the spies came back and only have to travel 11 days to the Promised Land, but instead, they murmured and complained and didn’t trust their God and wondered in the wilderness for 38 more years. This was because of their complaining.

They had to wonder in the wilderness for 40 years. One year for everyday the spies were gone spying out the land. This was their punishment for their complaining, not to mention the 10 spies that gave the bad report died by the plague of the LORD, and all the children of Israel, 20 years of age and older, died before they entered the promised land.

What a cost for their sin! What a cost for wanting to stay in the familiar!

They went round and round Mount Sinai or Horeb during their wonderings.

What area of your life have you traveled over and over again to never get over? •Is there a certain sin you keep falling into? Have you been murmuring? Have you been complaining? Is there a secret sin that keeps tempting you and you give in? Are you tired of going around this mountain over and over again? Are you always wondering back to the familiar? Do you Keep looking back to your past instead of what is going on in the present and possible future? Are you always looking at what you know instead of new insights from God and His word? Do you find yourself relying on your own knowledge and afraid to possess the Land in front of you? Do you fear Giants? Do you fear the “un-known?” Do you fear man?

It is time to let go of these areas once and for all. We are so use to these areas that they become familiar to us. We are use to it and accept that they are a part of our life now, but that is not true! Don’t settle for that lie! You will overcome by the power of God! You will let go of your familiar.

God wants us to let go of our familiar to embrace the new that He has for us. Letting go of the familiar is a hard thing to do. God cannot pour new wine into old wine skins (Matthew 9:17). Old wine skin is the familiar. What we did in the past, how we functioned and maintained, is gone. Now the new is here and we have to embrace it.

What in your life does God want you to let go of so you can reach for the new that He wants to give you? You might have been hurt in the past and have never let go of the pain you feel. You might have made many mistakes and feel you could never get past them, that they “define” you.

Know this; your past does not determine your future. God never determines your future by your past. He determines your future by what His Son did on the cross for you. What Christ did on the cross is a done deal. It is complete. Nothing will change what He has done. The power of the cross is still there and that power will never change. Whatever you are having trouble letting go of place it behind the Cross of grace and allow God to be glorified in it.

Letting go of the familiar is a hard thing to do. Letting go of your past seems painful, but really, it is very freeing. God is big enough to handle your past. Give it all to Him and as you do, you are reaching for the new; a new life of freedom from the bondage you have lived in all these years.

We can’t ignore what God is asking us to do. When you let go of the familiar your flesh will scream at you to stop.
It will seem uncomfortable to you. It may even seem un-natural to you. Just like Peter, when he stepped out of the boat to reach Jesus, was reaching for the new. When his flesh stepped onto the water, it felt uncomfortable and unfamiliar. His spirit wanted Jesus, but his flesh wanted to go back to the boat. Peter died to his flesh and started to walk! We have to die to our flesh! It will be uncomfortable because you have not walked down this road before.

The enemy will try and feed you lies that he has fed you all these years. Ask God to help you decipher between the lies and the truth. It’s hard to know the difference between a lie about yourself and something that’s possibly true, that you can change. Yet, there’s a harshness the Devil uses that is usually direct and painful. Thoughts that bring doom and gloom, that bring no hope, are the key to knowing a lie.

When negative thoughts come into your mind, if you dwell on them for any length of time, they will begin to take root in your heart. They start becoming your paradigm, or how you look at life. This is when it becomes unhealthy. As you dwell on how bad you are, or how bad life is, you’ll begin to believe it and start to act or react out of that unhealthy outlook. Fill your heart with Truth. The truth is God wants you set free. The truth is God is for you and not against you. The truth is you are a new creation in Christ, the old has past away and all things are new!

II Corinthians 5:17 (Amplified Bible)
“Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come.”

Let go of your Kadesh!
Let go of your familiar!
You have held onto your past for too long!
You have to change the way you’ve been thinking!
You have to change the way you’ve been going.
You have been at Kadesh for too long!

Deut. 1:6b & 7a
“The Lord our God spoke to us in Horeb, saying; You have dwelt long enough at this mountain. Turn and take your journey…..”

Stop doing what you’ve been doing and change your direction…. TURN. God wants you to turn from what you’ve been doing. Turn from what you know. Turn and repent.

Break camp and move on! (Good News)
Leave this place and go..
Make a move now, and go on your way…
Break camp, and get ready (GW)
Turn and pull up stakes and go (HCSB)
Turn and pull up stakes and enter
On your way now, get moving! (MSG)


God has land ready for you to take possession of! What is stopping you? Get past yourself. Get past your past! Get past what you know and reach out for the NEW! LET GO OF YOUR FAMILIAR! YOU’VE BEEN AROUND THIS PLACE LONG ENOUGH!

God has so much He wants to give to us as we let go of the familiar and embrace the new. You might not know what the new is right now. Trust Jesus that the new is from Him and it is a good thing. Don’t fight what God is doing in your life. Allow the change to come and you will be freed of any bondage or burden you have been carrying all these years. God is into the reconstruction business. He will reconstruct you as you let go of your familiar. No more murmuring! No more complaining; only praising!

Deut. 1:8 (NKJV)
“See, I have set the land before you; go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to your fathers – to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – to give to them and their descendants after them.”

God has set the land before us! Letting go of your Egypt is the first step towards your Promise Land! Can land walk to you? NO! Take a faith walk. Go in and possess the land which the Lord gave to you already! It is yours! Don’t be afraid!

God knew to encourage Joshua as He was taking over as leader from Moses, and as he was getting ready to possess the Promise Land.

Moses is getting ready to hand over the leadership to Joshua and he encourages the people:

Deut. 31:6

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you, He will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Deut. 31:7 – 8
“Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, ‘Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.’”

Deut. 34:9 (NKJV)
“Now Joshua the son of Num was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; so the children of Israel heeded him, and did as the LORD had commanded Moses.”

Joshua 1:9
“Have I not commanded you, Be strong and courageous?! Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you where ever you go.”

Joshua was encouraged many many times by God and by Moses. At the time, I am sure Joshua wondered why so many times. God knew He needed encouragement ahead of time as a reserve for when he actually started to walk and possess the land.

Letting go of our familiar is hard. Remember your familiar is bondage and a road block to your freedom and possessing the Land God has for you. Don’t let the “familiar” rob you of your destiny! Don’t let your “comfort” steal your promise land! Don’t allow your flesh to be comforted or you will die in your wilderness never possess the “new” God has for you.

Possess:  Means “have as belonging to one; own:  have as an ability, quality, or characteristic: take for one’s own.

It is about time we “take as our own” what is rightfully ours… “ The Promised Land”


Pastor Kris Belfils



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