The story of Joshua and Caleb is one of my all time favorite bible stories. Its such a story of faith and the ability to remain relentless in Gods promises no matter what it looks like. Joshua and Caleb are great examples of what it looks like to believe God when everyone else stops believing. It shows us that God’s promises sometimes comes through a process. This story is also, a great look at what our attitude in the process should look like.
2 “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.” Numbers 13:2
17 Then Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said to them, “Go up this way into the South, and go up to the mountains, 18 and see what the land is like: whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak, few or many; 19 whether the land they dwell in is good or bad; whether the cities they inhabit are like camps or strongholds; 20 whether the land is [d]rich or poor; and whether there are forests there or not. Be of good courage. And bring some of the fruit of the land.” Now the time was the season of the first ripe grapes. Numbers 13:17-20
He Already Knows
Reading through the scriptures you can see that God not only instructed them to see the land that He promised them, but to bring back evidence (fruit). Moses also asked various questions of what it looked like and expected a report of it all. While I was reading I realized this simple fact: He already knew. He knew that the land was good, that the people were strong and that they were many. He knew all of this and still left them with this encouragement that is: Be of good courage.
I believe when God tells us or shows us what /he desires to bring us into He already knows what it entails. He knows what is good, strong or many in our circumstance before we do. But still leaves us with encouragement to write the book, start the business, go to school, or whatever land He’s telling us to possess. Unlike the children of Israel, Knowing the characteristics of God will help show you what He won’t lead you into. For example, in this story, He won’t lead you into confusion.
26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. Numbers 13:26-28
32 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 are men of great stature. 33 There we saw the [h]giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” Numbers 13: 32-33
Again, knowing the characteristics of God would help bypass all of the ups and downs that doubt can cause. We do it with people around us as well….
For example, my father loves me. If he told me one day “Jess, I’m giving you a car. Come over and check it out.” Without a doubt, I would say yes. When I come to see it I wont believe that it’s a lemon. I wouldn’t think that the steering wheel is broken, the breaks are bad or the engine stopped. I’d believe that what He’s giving me won’t bring me to destruction. That’s the same way with God. Whatever He promised, is good.
30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” Numbers 13: 30
21 but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord— 22 because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, 23 they certainly shall not see the land of which I [o]swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it. 24 But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it. Numbers 14: 21-24
When it comes to doubt in this story, two things stood out:
You can be in the same group of people, given the same promise, and still have doubt around you. When doubt creeps in it can spread quickly. That’s why its so important to stand in hope on the promises of God. That means with family, friends, supporters, etc.
The people at home didn’t even see it, it was based off of what they heard. Sound familiar? What we hear on the media or from others can discourage you. "Don't go to college you'll be in so much debt" "Its not that many good men/women out there these days" "Its hard to start a business, sure you want to do it?"
When it comes to faith in this story, a couple things stood out:
Faith has a sound and it sees differently.
Faith is bold.
Faith didn’t just affect them, but their entire family line. Remember, the ones who went to spy out the land were only leaders of the tribes. Therefore when Joshua and Caleb crossed into the promise land, so did their families.
So be of good courage, folks! The way to the promise might not be what we think but it is still fruitful. Our attitudes is what will help us see that even more clearly. I heard a wise man say “Faith doesn’t make things easier, it makes things possible”
Until next time!