Leadership: Joshua and Caleb (part 2 of 4)

Posted on February 14, 2012 by

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Continuing from the previous post out of the text from Numbers 13:25 – 14:4 , here’s the second principle that I believe we can learn.

To fail to seize a God-ordained opportunity, even in the face of great difficulty, is to rebel against God.

It is both foolhardy and unspiritual to assume that every difficult situation is actually something that God wants us to pursue.  But as we’re convinced that God does desire for us to move ahead, fixing our eyes on the difficulties rather than on Him is a both a lack of faith and a denial of God’s power.

Joshua and Caleb understood this.  Look at verses 5-9 of chapter 14.  They hit the issue right on the head.  Failure to trust God and move out in faith is indeed a denial of His power and faithfulness.  Look at God’s own response in verse 11: The LORD said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them?  What started out as simply a little self-preservation has ended up in contempt against God himself!  I doubt that Israel had intended to question God’s very character, but this is what they ended up doing.  Exercising our faith is both a blessing afforded us and a responsibility!  When you’re sure that God wants you to move out, don’t wait!  Failure to do what God wants us to do is sin!  We are told in James 4:17:  Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.

Israel never seemed to remember what God had done in their midst, and never seemed to allow God’s work to become a source of confidence to move ahead. How many miracles had they just experienced?  They’d just left Egypt, they’d crossed the Red Sea on dry land, they’d been led by a pillar of fire, they’d been given water from a rock, manna and quail from heaven.  What else did God have to do to prove His faithfulness?  Were a few large inhabitants a big deal?

But their emotions trumped everything they knew to be true about God.  Not only did they forget what God had done and what God was capable of doing, they dreamed up worst case scenarios!  “We’re going to die here!  Our families will be taken as plunder!”

Sounds like you and me.  “If I obey God, I just KNOW what will happen.”

If I don’t cheat on this exam, I’ll fail it and never get a good job.

-If I don’t lie about this thing I just did, I will be fired and my life will be over.

-I can’t honor my marriage vows.  I’ll be miserable for the rest of my life and I deserve better!

What about us?  Do you remember God’s faithfulness? What has God called you to?

Don’t question God’s character by failing to obey and move forward in faith.  God has proved his faithfulness to you, too!  Self preservation is rebellion!  But there is freedom and blessing in obedience.

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