The other day I was having a difficult time deciding what to read in the Bible. Joshua had been on my mind quite a bit, so I thought I’d take a few weeks to study out his life. It’s no coincidence either; God is blowing my mind with His promises.
All too often, I look at my circumstances and forget the vision of why I’m doing what I do. Especially with stress and superficial things that take up way too much brain space, it’s easy to get distracted. I begin to “doubt in the dark what God taught me the light.” (a Pete Wilson quote)
I turned to page 141 in my Bible, which has no real significance other than the fact that it’s the page on which Numbers 13 begins. Right at the top of the chapter, God gives Moses a job to do:
Send out for yourself men so that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I am going to give to the sons of Israel…
Moses calls 12 men, one from each of the tribes, and proceeds to instruct these guys on what they are to do for the next forty days. Moses has a lot of questions for these dudes to answer. I think any time God gives us a promise, or a job to do, we cannot just walk into it blindly – especially in the matter of claiming back territory. We have to scope out our challenges.
Asking questions should not redefine whether or not God has actually said _____. It doesn’t mean it isn’t promised. It doesn’t mean the answers we get determine our success. I believe this mandate was to better prepare Israel, and to challenge whether or not they truly believed the word of God over what they saw with their eyes.
Joshua, Caleb and ten others spied out the land for forty days…which usually signifies a time of waiting, probation, and preparation. Everyone came back with their list of answers for Moses. Ten saw that list negatively; two had an entirely different take on it. Everyone could agree this land was awesome! Clusters of grapes the size of a horse, I mean, c’mon! But ten got hung up on the fact that the people of the land were too strong to defeat.
But what had God already promised? He already said He would give it to them, knowing full well all that existed there. The majority ran in defeat, but two guys actually had the balls to stand up for what God said before they even left.
I imagine Caleb and Joshua looking at those ten men, faces on fire, fists clenched, a burning passion welling up in their hearts. Caleb silences the crowd, as the complaints had already begun. Taking a deep breath, Caleb confidently announces,
We should by all means go up and take possession of it. For we shall surely overcome it.
I have no doubt in my mind that all twelve of those men heard what God spoke to Moses. But only two of those men actually took hold of that vision and believed despite what they saw later on. It was by one conviction alone that they believed: NOTHING is impossible for God, especially when He’s already promised it.
I also see that Caleb encouraged the people to “take” the land. When God calls us to something, I believe it is His will for us to take hold of it. When we are sent into situations, God always goes with us…something Joshua is later reminded of. Get this: we can’t acquire a promise by sitting back and being lazy, expecting it to come the easy way. God will give it to us, but we have to reach out and take it.
But how did Joshua and Caleb walk into the land with that kind of faith? Why were they the only ones who believed beyond their circumstances? Check out “Joshua – Part 2” to find out.