A Majority of One

Verse:  Numbers 13:26-33

Recommended Reading

 Psalms 18 ;  Philippians 4:12-13

Have you ever met a man like Caleb? Oh, they’re out there all right. All you have to do is look around.

Think of your neighbor down the street who has taken it upon himself to replace his entire kitchen. He’s done the homework, learned from others and bravely undertaken the demolition with a seeming fearlessness that you admire. Think of a boss you once had who was wildly optimistic in the face of competition and adversity. He strategized with an enthusiasm that inspired you and your coworkers. Think of the disabled young girl in your community who refuses to let her physical disabilities keep her from a normal life with her friends.

All of these people face obstacles with a courage that defies the circumstances they face. Their drive seems to gather momentum despite adversity. Do they always succeed? No, but they don’t let fear stop them in their tracks before moving ahead.

Caleb faced similar pressure to despair after his spy mission in Canaan. Ten of his fellow spies panicked when they saw the size of some of the people living in Canaan—enemies the Israelites would need to defeat in order to claim the promised land. “There’s no way we can beat them,” the other spies assessed. “They’re too powerful.”

Caleb’s scouting report reflected a different perspective. He wasn’t impressed by the size of the Anakites—he was bowled over by the power of the One who had held back the waters of the Red Sea. He didn’t fear the fighting force of the Amalekites—it paled in comparison to the artillery of the One who had brought Egypt to its knees. He brushed aside doubts that God would protect the Israelites—this wasn’t any more of a challenge for God than the manna, quail and water he had provided in the desert.

Caleb surveyed the obstacles in front of him and concluded that nothing else was a match for God’s power.

Have you reached the same conclusion regarding the obstacles in your life? Perhaps the financial crisis that seems hopeless? The coworkers who are hostile to your Christian faith? The medical crisis that is turning your world upside down? The destructive habit no one else knows about?

Instead of allowing the problem at hand to overwhelm you, think about the Resource at your disposal. Make a mental list of past situations in which God protected you, provided for you and cared for you. Refuse to be intimidated by your spiritual enemies—no matter how enormous they seem. Remind yourself of the One who is on your team. And be the guy in your neighborhood whose optimism in the face of adversity inspires others.

To Take Away

• What problems or obstacles are overwhelming you right now?

• How can you show the same boldness Caleb displayed in dealing with your own troubles?

• Make a list of instances in which you sensed God’s protection, provision or care. When you pray, ask God to remind you of these blessings whenever you begin to feel overwhelmed.

This devotion is from the NIV New Men's Devotional Bible by Zondervan. Used with permission.