“Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh-barnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart.”
King James Version
“Features of A Father” - Part 1
“There is no door in my theatre through which God cannot see.”
Do I really believe that God loves me, even when He knows all about me?
“For the love of God is broader that the measures of man’s mind; and the heart of the Eternal is most wonderfully kind.”
F. W. Faber
“We can love God because He loved us. It produces gratitude, delight, zeal, filial reverence, obedience. It elevates the soul above the creature. It purifies all the affections. This is its legitimate effect. Where God is understood, and where His love is really enjoyed, these effects follow.”
The dictionary defines the word “feature” as a “prominent aspect, quality or characteristic.” When I hear the word, I usually think first about physical features. For example, if I were to describe my father’s face to you, I could tell you he had blue eyes, wavy hair, a pointed nose and very distinct lips. These are physical features that might help you recognize my father if you had never met him before. But these physical attributes do nothing to give you a clear understanding of who my dad really was. His exterior characteristics wouldn’t tell you about the twinkle he always had in his eyes or the happy whistle of a lovely tune that surrounded him wherever he went. The size and shape of my father’s mouth doesn’t begin to give you a glimpse into the smile that was always on his face. Nor does the weight or shape of his heart begin to help you understand the breadth of love carried inside that heart.
Physical features are just one element in a person’s life. Emotional and spiritual features are also elements that make up the “whole” of who you and I are. And the same can be said of our Heavenly Father. This is why we are going to study four features of our Heavenly Father, as portrayed in the life of an earthly father, Caleb.
Today our focus will be on Feature #1 - Our Father Sees and Still Believes the Best.
If we go back to Numbers 13, we find we are given certain features about Caleb. Obviously, to be chosen as a spy, scouting out a foreign country, Caleb had to be strong, fit, healthy and adventurous. This man was no shrinking violet. As he noted, at the age of 40 years, Caleb was in the prime of life. These were his physical features. But we need to get inside Caleb to understand the depth of this man.
Caleb was a man of emotions. A man of feelings. A man with opinions. A man of courage. These were features that also described Caleb.
Our text today in Joshua 14: 7 states, Caleb didn’t get a report on what Canaan was like. He saw with His own eyes. He didn’t rely on someone else’s observation. He looked the place over for himself. And then, he “brought (Moses) word again as it was in mine heart.” As the Hebrew states, Caleb “rendered” a decision based on his own personal sight and heart, not another’s opinion.
And this is Feature #1 about Caleb. He didn’t let others sway him. He saw and believed the best, even when everybody else said things looked hopeless. What a man! Caleb was someone who didn’t just see the glass and say it was half-full. He thought it looked ready to overflow! This is what he saw in Canaan. When the other spies saw walled cities and giants, Caleb saw His God who promises that when, “I am on your side, all things are possible.”
You know what, this special feature in Caleb is also present in our heavenly Father. He sees you, and He sees me, and He believes the best. When we think we are dressed in filthy rags, our Father covers us in His royal robe. When we’ve been wallowing in a pig pen, eating from earth’s rotting trough, our Father sees us and doesn’t smell the odor of the pig sty, He smells the aroma of His grace that has wrapped us in the perfume of heaven.
Just like Caleb, who saw and believed the best, so our Father sees you and me and believes the best. No part of our life is too dark. No past is too terrible. No sin too black that our Father’s eyes cannot penetrate inside our broken hearts and see what His healing love can do.
Think what it was like to have 12 spies, traversing the border to the Promised Land. Every one of them saw the same thing, but Caleb looked beyond and saw what his God could do so he believed and shared what was in his heart. Feature #1 of a father is someone who sees and believes the best. That’s what Caleb did when he entered God’s Promised Land.
It is what our heavenly Father does when He enters your life and mine – He sees and believes the best. Our Father sees the potential, the power and the promise in your life and mine and says to you and me, “I have a promise for the land of your life. Let me stay here and I’ll show you great and mighty things. I see the best for you!”
“In His love He clothes us, enfolds us and embraces us; that tender love completely surrounds us, never to leave us.” - Julian of Norwich
“Love bade me welcome;
Yet my soul drew back,
guilty of dust and sin.
but quick eyed love,
observing me grow slack
from my first entrance in,
drew nearer to me, sweetly
questioning, if I lacked any thing.
A guest, I answered,
worthy to be here;
Love said, ‘You shall be He.
I the unkind, ungrateful?
Ah, my dear, I cannot look on Thee.
Love took my hand, and
smiling did reply,
‘Who made the eyes but I?’
Truth Lord, but I have marred them;
Let my shame go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, says Love,
who bore the blame?
My dear, then I will serve.
‘You must sit down,’ says Love,
and taste my meat:
so I did sit and eat.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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