Today's Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun .”
Numbers 14: 30
“The Vision of the Valiant”
“Spiritual victory comes only to those who are prepared for battle.”
What does the word ‘valiant’ mean to me?
Do I show qualities of a ‘valiant’ person in my spiritual life?
“God did not say, ‘You shall not be tempted, you shall not be travailed; you shall not be afflicted.’ But He said, ‘You shall not be overcome.’”
Julian of Norwich
“The first step on the way to victory is to recognize the enemy.”
Carrie Ten Boom
Have you ever played a game where one person is given a piece of information and then they are told to share it with the person next to them, who in turn passes the message to someone else? This procedure continues until the one who started the circle gets the message back. The legendary American painter Norman Rockwell painted a picture that took the game of passing on a story to new levels and when the piece of information arrived at the original source, you can only imagine how twisted the tale had become as people told and retold the story.
We are quite a crazy group – because our individuality and our unique life experiences often make us look at things so differently. None of us come to shared events with the exact same viewpoint. This is why you get 10 different opinions or scenarios from 10 people who witnessed the same car accident. And it is why 12 jury members may have a difficult time coming to a unanimous decision on a verdict in a legal case.
A wide variety of viewpoints is not just a 21st century occurrence. Numbers 13 shows us that thousands of years ago, a group of spies sent by Moses to search out Canaan didn’t come back with an identical viewpoint.
In fact, only two people, Caleb and Joshua, thought like victors. These valiant men saw something all the others missed. While everyone in the scouting party went to the same places and ate the same food and traversed the same land, all some saw were giants and walled cities. Consequently, their report reflected their negative vision. All they saw was trouble.
But if we look at Caleb and Joshua and the report they brought back, you’d think they had gone to a completely different place than everybody else.
Numbers 13: 30 gives us the 4 key elements which were present and necessary in the vision of these valiant individuals who were victorious.
We find that Caleb, specifically, articulates the 4 critical elements:
Element #1: “And Caleb stilled the people.” The Psalmist David wrote about his Heavenly Father, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46: 10, K.J.V.). But there is an important part to this text we often fail to read. Why does God ask us to be still? David answers the question by saying that when we are still, rather than frantically trying to solve things for ourselves and chaotically running about, we are able to recognize our God is capable. This is what David penned: “Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted on the earth” (Psalm 46: 10, K.J.V.). Somewhere in the negative whining, the children of Israel forgot their God was in charge. He was exalted and He could and would take care of them. As Meister Eckhart so beautifully wrote, “The very best and highest attainment in this life is to remain still and let God act.” Caleb recognized this truth as “he stilled the people.”
Element #2: Caleb said, “Let us go up at once.” Don’t you just love it! No procrastination here. No stalling tactics. No delaying the advance. God had promised them this land. God had promised them success. No dilly-dallying around waiting for a better day. Today was the day. Today was God’s day. As one author so aptly stated: “The devil’s favorite tool is tricking people to put things off.” Long before Goethe ever penned these words, the valiant Caleb understood that: “lose this day loitering, ‘twill be the same story tomorrow, and the next more dilatory. For indecision brings its own delays.” Caleb said, “Let us go up at once.”
Element #3: Let us ‘possess it.” In the Hebrew, the word possess means “to inherit,” “to take possession of what is yours.” This land already belonged to the children of Israel. It was God’s inheritance to His children. All they were to do was take possession of it. However, there is also another meaning in Hebrew to this word “possess.” It also means when they took possession, they were not to live together with the heathen, something we will find out was not followed in the future, and proved to bring great heartache to God’s children. Caleb understood victory meant “possessing” the land.
Element #4: In the words of Caleb, “We are well able to overcome.” It is critical to look at this word, “overcome.” I thought it meant “win.” But I was wrong! And I’m so thankful I was for this word has a meaning so much greater and wider. In the Hebrew the word “overcome” means “to endure.” If we go to the words of Jesus in Matthew 10: 22, He assures you and me, “(She) that “endureth” to the end shall be saved!” It isn’t the strongest person. The richest person. The smartest person. It is the person whose faith in Jesus endures to the end who is the person who is saved. Caleb believed that “we are able to overcome” because his faith was in a God who had promised His children would overcome by enduring to the end.
What a tremendous message for you and me when we come up against the giants and walled cities that frighten us. We can whine and run in fear like the majority of the spies did or with vision of the valiant we can be still and know our God is exalted. It is this knowledge that will inspire us to, “go up at once and to possess” what God has promised, for we have faith in a God who promises we will overcome by enduring to the end. In the words of Isidore, “By your endurance you will gain your life.”
“His (God’s) commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.”
I John 5: 3, 4
“If every part of my life
is with you
and in you, Lord,
then everything is made good:
even the things I struggle not to resent,
even the draining and hurtful encounters.
Let every moment of my life be your moment,
whether or not I consciously remember you,
and make me more open
to the pulse of your life
and the breath of your love.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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