Sunday, November 11, 2012

Caleb and Joshua

Today as I consider the Numbers story of Caleb and Joshua, I wonder how often we as Christians back up our faith with courage.  In Numbers chapter 13, we are told that spies were sent to the land of Canaan.  Among those spies were Caleb and Joshua.  After spying on the land for forty days, the spies returned to Moses and the Israelites.

The children of Israel surely were expecting a good report.  They had been delivered from the Egyptians and were ready to claim the land promised to them by God.  Caleb did indeed give a good report.  However, verse 31 says, "But the men who had gone up with him said, 'We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.'"  The congregation then wept.  After everything they witnessed God do for them, they allowed a few men to convince them they could not fight against the inhabitants of Canaan. 

Yet Caleb and Joshua believed in God.  They had faith.  And they were ready to back up their faith with courage.  In Numbers 14:8-9, Caleb and Joshua tell the Israelites, "If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land which flows with milk and honey.  Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us.  Do not fear them."

Caleb and Joshua were ready to go, even though the spies who accompanied them were not.  And when Caleb and Joshua tried to change the minds of the Israelites, they said Caleb and Joshua should be stoned!

The question I have to ask myself after reading this passage is this: would I have the courage to go where God sends me? If everyone around me was too afraid, would I have the courage to trust God and go alone? That's a question we all need to ask ourselves.

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