Saturday, February 14, 2009

Facing my Giants...

Numbers 12 through 14 continue the saga of God's children's wilderness shenanigans. As I read, I'm reminded that there is nothing new under the sun--people still complain, doubt, exaggerate, lie, get jealous and fail--just as the Israelites did in the desert.

Chapter 13 records the events surrounding the reports brought back to Israel by the spies who were sent to Canaan to assess the promised land. It was indeed found to be flowing with milk and honey, just as God had said. But rather than excitement, the spies were doubtful that they could successfully enter and occupy the country. As reports grew more negative, one man stepped forward with a different perspective. Verse 30 picks up the story:

30 But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!” 31 But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” 32 So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. 33 We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!”

Sometimes, I have been like Caleb. My trust in God's ability to do the impossible has been undaunted despite seemingly tremendous odds because I was walking by faith and not by sight. On other occasions, sadly, I've been like those other guys. Fearful. Doubtful. Uncertain. Daunted. Conflicted. Confused. Scared.

What I know about the rest of this story is that the only spies who lived to see the promised land were Caleb and Joshua, the men who had the faith to believe God for the impossible. The others, according to chapter chapter 14 were not so fortunate.

God hasn't changed. Ephesians 3:20-21 puts it like this: Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.

In today's passage, just two men had gigantic faith that was undaunted by giant-sized people. They were unfazed by being outnumbered or by the fortified cities of Canaan, because they remembered--trusted--that God was on their side. If we belong to him by faith in Jesus Christ and are following him obediently, he is on our side. So...why do we doubt? Why do we fear? Why do we fail? Because we take our eyes off of our deliverer and limit his infinite ability. He is God. Creator, Redeemer, Protector, Defender, Almighty, Most Holy, God. And in him, all things are possible.

Lord, I believe, help my unbelief. Give me the perspective of Caleb and the fearlessness of Joshua. That is my prayer for myself. That is my cry for my loved ones. In Jesus alone. Amen.

"Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful"

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