Whenever I go to camps, Sunday Schools, or Vacation Bible Schools, I always bring my puppet Jeffrey with me. Jeffrey is a timberwolf, and although he claims to be "fierce and ferocious," he's really "cute and cuddly." And children love to pet him. He's the only one of my puppets that I will let anyone touch.
And the children absolutely love being able to pet him!
Two weeks ago I was teaching a Vacation Bible School, and I had a group of young children (mostly under the age of six years old). As I got to know this group of children, I realized that for several of the children, if I brought Jeffrey out, it would be simply an opportunity to pull his tail, squish his head, and other things that I didn't want happening to Jeffrey. And that if I told them not to, this particular group of children might see it as an invitation to do so!
So Jeffrey, although he made several visits to the VBS, never came out where the children could touch and pet him.
They missed out on a very simple pleasure that would have made their evening very special, and they never even realized what they were missing out on.
I was thinking about this in relation to the Israelites going to the promised land -- God told them to go in and take it, and they said "No!" And because they would not listen to God (as Psalms 95:8 says, they "hardened their hearts") they never got to even see the land God had promised them.
And I wonder how often I'm like that group of children, that missed out on a simple pleasure and never knew what they missed. I wonder how often I'm like the Israelites, who missed out on an extraordinary blessing, and never knew what they missed.
I wonder how many times I've said "No" to God, said "No" to what is right, and I never even realized what blessing I was saying "No" to.
How much better for us, when God speaks, to say "Yes" to Him. To not risk missing out on the things God has in store for us.