Plum fruit growing on tree

Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. 8 If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” Numbers 14:6-9 NIV

One of my first sermons as a teenager was this story about Israel’s failure to enter the promised land. The 10 spies who spread a bad report said “Next to the giants of the land they felt and looked like grasshoppers. Surely , the land devours those who live in it.” Their statement was true – without God, BUT with God the whole perspective changes.

Out of the 12 spies who entered Canaan to spy out the land, only Joshua and Caleb lived to enter the land of promise. The land was indeed fruitful and the cities were fortified with giants living in them. What made Joshua and Caleb different from the others? 

All had experienced deliverance from Egypt and saw the glory of God Almighty.  They had experienced manna from heaven, water from a rock and deliverance from their enemies in warfare. Yet 2 out of 12 were the only ones who believed in the presence of God and the fruit of the land. How can we nurture the faith of Joshua and Caleb to overcome fear of the obstacles we face in our life?

Observations of the account and possible action steps

  • All 12 men were faithful to complete the mission of spying out the land, tasting the fruit, observing the fruitfulness of the land and scouting out the enemies fortification and advantages
    • Obstacles need to be clearly vetted to see from God’s perspective.  If you owe money, you need to know how much and how long to pay it back. It is not a lack of faith to understand how tall the hill is that you need to climb. 
    • It is prudent to do all of your homework when facing what may come.
  • 10 of the men spoke half truth and half lie on their reporting
    •  But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” Numbers 13:31-33
    • Notice they said the land devours, when in reality it was fertile and fruitful.
    • Notice they said giants saw them like grasshoppers…How did they know what the giants were thinking? Caleb said the people in the land were afraid of the Israelites.
    • Make sure you don’t lie to strengthen your views of the obstacle
  • What they said (the words used to grumble and complain about the obstacle) in evaluating their problem became true.
    • All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! Ex 14:2  God let them eat the fruit of their words…ALL men and women over 20 died in the wilderness over the next 40 years…except Joshua and Caleb.
    • GUARD presumptuous speculations when addressing your obstacle. Find out what God is saying about your situation and repeat HIS words over and over.
  • God said Caleb had a “different spirit” regarding the matter.
    • Check and recheck your attitudes when facing obstacles
    • Is fear influencing your speech or faith?
    • Are you content with grumbling or moving toward gratitude?
    • Do you have bitterness or jealousy toward others in the conflict? How would forgiveness change what you are facing?
  • Caleb and Joshua took the position of repentance and humility to gain God’s perspective.
    • They two tore their clothes….a sign of brokenness and repentance
    • Acknowledging your frailty and “smallness” before God can help bring clarity to face the trouble in your life
    • Do not overlook the importance of posturing yourself physically to hear from God.  Bend the knee, bow the head, read the word, pray prayers and cry out to God are helpful activities to position your heart to face the overwhelming obstacles.
  • Joshua and Caleb focused on the fruit and God’s presence to overcome fear
    • They gave a good and honest report about the land’s fruitfulness
    • They reminded everyone, that God would be with them in the battles
    • Invite God’s presence to show Himself strong on your behalf. Remind God of his faithfulness to never, ever leave you nor forsake you.
  • Remembering God’s protection helps overcome fear.
    • Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” Ex 14:9
    • Give thanks for His protection and presence

In summary on this Fear Not Friday, to overcome fear of the obstacle which you are facing, guard your words, speak what God is saying and look at the fruit at the end of overcoming.  It will be worth more than all of the sacrifice.

Don’t try to “out think” how God will have to answer the problem you are facing. No one could envision God causing the walls of Jericho to come down with shouts and a trumpet blast. His revelation and provision come in His timing. Learn to rest in what He is saying to do right now and keep moving toward Him.

Blessings Love y’all