“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Send some men to explore the land of Canaan,which I am giving to the Israelites.'” Numbers 13:1-2
The story of Joshua and Caleb offers some incredible insight into decision making that I have completely overlooked until recently. To set the scene, God wants to lead the Israelites in the promise land with the leadership of Moses. God tells Moses to send 12 scouts to explore the land of Canaan and bring back a report on what they saw of the land and the people. The scouts explored for 40 days and then came back and gave their reports in front of Moses, Aaron, and the whole community. Of the 12 reports only two were positive. Joshua and Caleb believed that since God has promised them this land, despite the reports from the others, they could indeed conquer this land. But unfortunately the bad reports spread and the people rebelled. This very much displeased God and because of it, He made sure that Moses and all the people would wander for 40 years and never enter the promise land…the only exceptions being Joshua and Caleb. And as for the 10 spies that gave bad reports? “They were struck dead with a plague before the Lord.” (Numbers 14:37)
Now let’s fast forward 45 years. Joshua and Caleb lead the people into the promise land and they begin to divide it amongst the people. Caleb requests his land from Joshua with this powerful statement:
“I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.” Joshua 14:7-8
Did you catch that? Caleb brought back a report based on his convictions and not what the circumstances around him were showing. The others reported on what they felt in the natural and the ramifications were grave. I believe, however, that this statement has powerful implications for the decisions that you and I are facing today. In the natural the reports we may be getting could be negative. “The doctors are saying this…”, or “My boss said that…” “My bank account looks like this…” or “My future is so unclear…” I’m sure all of us are facing difficult decisions today, and some of you may feel stuck. Make your decision based on your convictions, based on what you know is the truth…God’s truth. Our emotions and circumstances can lead us away from what God has called us to do. Lean into God’s Word and His promises today, moving forward with those decisions.
“Many spiritual leaders do not lead from courage. They lead from fear. Fear drives many ministries. Fear of being disliked, fear of losing income, fear of failure, fear of conflict–these and a hundred other fears form a giant that calls the leader out of the contest.” Reggie McNeal – A Work of Heart
How often in life do we let our fears dictate what can and cannot do? I’ve heard it said that our fears establish the limits of our life. Fear is a powerful force, and if left unchecked, it can end up taking over our lives and holding us back from reaching our full potential and being all that God has called us to be.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Today, think about your life’s trajectory…Would you say you are walking in confidence knowing the power you have in Christ, or is fear determining your course? God has given all of us the unique set of tools that we need to succeed in what He has called us to do. We can now walk in courage knowing Christ has set us up to succeed because He loves us; and 1 John 4:18 says, “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear…” We can take on our days with freedom and confidence because of Christ’s love for us. Amen.
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” Psalm 107:1
Being thankful is underrated!
It way too easy to fall into the trap of just focusing on the negatives in life and not giving any mention or thanks to the positives…The truth is, for the most part, we have it so good. It’s vitally important to recognize the incredible blessings we have in our lives and be thankful for them.
So today, I want us all to share a few things that we are thankful and grateful for despite what may be happening in our lives.
I am thankful for:
- A beautiful wife Abby…she filly my life with so much light!
- The best, cutest little boy on the planet
- A cozy home to call my own.
- I get paid to play music…pretty good gig.
- An amazing, functional and supportive family that I can rely on.
Finish this sentence:
Today, I am thankful for…
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Recently, I’ve been in a season of life where I’ve had to choose joy. In these more trying seasons, I often forget that joy is a choice. Since joy is not based on circumstance, it becomes our choice whether or not we are going to experience it. The verse above says to give thank in all circumstances. It doesn’t say for all circumstances but in. So even in tough, unexpected, and bad circumstances, we can choose to give thanks or choose joy.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. – Hebrews 6:19
The funny thing about tough seasons is that they make you feel isolated. When we go through storms, we tend to believe the lie that we are alone and no body else understands what we are experiencing. It is important to protect ourselves from this lie. Our friends may not perfectly understand, but our God does. He is with you always and the unchanging anchor for our soul.
“The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” Psalm 28:7
Whatever you are going through right now, remember you can choose joy and trust that God, who is our hope, is with us no matter what.
What situations are you facing that you need to choose joy?