“But my servant Caleb has a different attitude than the others have. He has remained loyal to me, so I will bring him into the land he explored. His descendants will possess their full share of that land.” – Numbers 14:24.
Fear does not advance the kingdom of God, but faith does. We see that illustrated in Numbers 13 and 14. If you’re not familiar with the story here is a quick summary.
The Israelites are standing on the edge of the land that God had promised to give them. These people had experienced firsthand the delivering power of God when He set them free from slavery in Egypt, the sustaining power of God as He provided for them during their journey through the desert, and the power of God’s presence as He led them through the desert via a cloud of smoke during the day and a pillar of fire at night. God’s faithfulness to the Israelites was proven time and time again, even when it didn’t seem possible.
In Numbers 13, they finally stood at the end of their long journey. God commanded Moses to send some men out ahead of them to spy out the land (13:1-2). Moses sends out twelve spies (13:3-20). The spies were gone for forty days and while there they observed two things. First, the land was beautiful and fruitful. Second, the people who inhabited the land were huge and powerful (13:21-24).
When they came back with their report to give to Moses and the people, ten of the spies, in fear, said that the Israelites would be foolish to try and go up against the strong armies that inhabited the land. However, two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, in faith, said they’d be foolish not to go up and take what God had promised to give them (13:25-33). Fear won the day. As a result, that generation of Israelites didn’t inherit what God had promised. They spent the next forty years wandering in the desert instead of experiencing the power and faithfulness of God in the promised land.
Discouragement always focuses on circumstances, while faith focuses on the promises of God, assured that His nature and character will back up the promise. It was the same attitude that Abraham had when God promised him a son at the time when most men are thinking of anything but converting a spare room into a nursery.
Caleb at age 85 asked to lead the assault in taking one of the most difficult areas in all of Canaan. He went for the toughest task to demonstrate that giants were not invincible, that the bigger they are the harder they fall, and regardless of how strong you may or may not be when God chooses to give you power over your enemies, even the Goliaths come tumbling down. Before you decide that the promises of God may apply to others but not you, read about Caleb and ask yourself if the God who gave Caleb his heart’s desire is indifferent to what He has promised you.
Remember, faith always sees the promises of God as certain–as though they had already taken place. It sees what others cannot grasp, because faith sees God, not the circumstances.
- Are you looking toward the future with fear or faith?
- What happens to us inside when we overemphasize negative things? How does our negativity influence others? Give an example from your experience.