Courage

The Land of Promise (Part III)

The Israelites learned the hard way that unbelief and listening to the voice of majority has major consequences. Many times, the voice of the majority is not correct, and it requires courage and discernment to hear God amid all the unbelief around us.

Then the Lord said: “I have pardoned, according to your word;  but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord—  because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it.  But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it. Numbers 14:20-24

Only two out of twelve spies came back with a good report. The ten spies exaggerated the problem to the point that they convinced themselves and others that they were not capable of fighting those men. On the other hand, Joshua and Caleb’s report was faith-filled. They saw the size of their enemies, but they resolved that God is greater than any giants in the land.

Faith is a decision to believe God and to trust Him when we don’t have all the facts. Genuine and bold faith is not easily found. The voice of the majority generally is the voice of unbelief and relying on it is bound to cause problems and lead people the wrong way.

While we should count the cost before we make a major decision, there are times that we cannot figure out God’s direction, but we know it is from Him. If we are going to walk by faith, we have to accept the fact that the Lord may not provide step-by-step instructions nor does He give details in advance. All we know is that He is guiding us in a certain direction.

When you read the entire passage in Numbers 14, you find that Moses interceded on behalf of the Israelites and God forgave them. However, they still had to experience the consequences of their unbelief and disobedience. God punished the Israelites by keeping them in the wilderness one year for every day that they spent scouting out the land and bringing the unfavorable report to the people. That meant they were going to spend forty years in the wilderness. The only two from their generation who were going to make it to the Land of promise were Joshua and Caleb!

The Israelites’ unbelief and disobedience were very costly. Our unbelief and its associated disobedience can also be very costly, and it may lead us to going around the mountain over and over again.

Interestingly, we don’t find Joshua and Caleb complaining about the Israelites’ unbelief and the fact that they also had to remain in the wilderness for forty years before they could enter the land of promise. These two individuals were courageous in the true sense of the word. They were not just warriors confident in their ability to fight the enemies, but they were also humble men who accepted the consequence of Israelites’ disobedience and went around the mountain right along with them.

Knowing God was displeased with them, the Israelites decided to go up and fight the Amalekites after all. Moses told them that they were being presumptuous. God had given them a window of grace and the opportunity to fight the “giants’ in the land, but they had refused to accept it at the right time. Surprisingly, they did not feel like grasshoppers anymore and they thought they could fight them this time! In reality, the Israelites were operating in carnality both times. At first, they did not want to go because they focused on themselves and didn’t think they had what it took to conquer the land. Now, they felt bad about God’s punishment and displeasure, so they decided to fix it on their own. They were not looking to the Lord to help, and they ended up not succeeding in their own efforts.

Sometimes, we get emotional and make rash decisions. We can vacillate back and forth based on how we feel at the moment about a decision. It is better to seek the Lord and allow our emotions of fear, guilt, frustration, or pride to subside, so we can hear God clearly rather than jumping into or out of a decision based on momentary emotions.

Caleb and Joshua remained steady and were able to successfully reach the Promised Land. Our walk with the Lord will continue to require faith, patience, obedience, and humility to have the longevity and the success that Caleb and Joshua experienced.

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The Land of Promise (Part II)

Many people like and enjoy the warmth of God’s presence, but they don’t know how to see God’s promises fulfilled in their lives. Some used to get excited about personal prophesies, but now they wonder when and how they are going to come to pass. The truth is that God’s promises will continue to require His children to engage with them in faith and not doubting what the Lord has spoken. The Israelites struggled with this in the wilderness when they doubted God helping them to get to the Promised Land. They focused on their inadequacies rather than God’s miraculous work on their behalf. …

Fight the Good Fight (Part II)

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. Matthew 11:12 

How do we fight the good fight of faith!? Jesus told us that it would not be easy and that it would require us to exert a force in the direction of God’s Kingdom. To possess God’s promises for us, we not only need to believe them, but we also need to act on them and live them out!

In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus taught his disciples to pray that they would not be led in temptation but to be delivered from evil. If we are going to take possession of what God has already bought for us through the precious blood of Jesus, we need to remain alert to the enemy’s devices. If we fall into temptations or offenses, we open the door to the enemy, and we lose the territory that belongs to us. The enemy is after derailing God’s people by causing shame, guilt, and accusation.

Joseph had dreams about God’s purpose in his life, but for many years everything looked opposite of what he had seen in his dreams. He could have grown bitter, resentful, and disobedient to those who ruled over him. To the contrary, Joseph fought the good fight of faith by remaining diligent, pure, obedient, and free from offense. This prevented him from not being baited by the enemy nor to be derailed from God’s purpose in his life. 

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:11-12

Paul gives another glimpse of how to fight the good fight of faith. He describes that we are to live with godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. These qualities allow a believer to lay hold of the Kingdom of God and bring it to earth. Furthermore, others get to see, taste, and experience the Kingdom of God through those who live their lives this way.

Today, as we remember the work and the ministry of Dr. Martin Luther King, we see a man of God who fought the good fight of faith in pursuit of truth, dignity, and justice! He exerted force and brought violence against the kingdom of darkness, hatred, and racism, but he fought this battle with faith, love, courage, and patience. While taking action, his hope was ultimately in the Lord his redeemer, which brings us to the next point in Paul’s exhortation.

Paul also stresses to lay hold on eternal life! This is an important aspect of fighting the good fight of faith. Jesus bought eternal life for every person who confesses their sin and recognizes Jesus’ work on the cross for the forgiveness of their sins. Jesus did not just die, so we can have a good life on this earth, but He died to give us the hope and expectation of an eternal life with our savior and Lord. If people live their lives as if this life is all there is, then they will live their lives with frustration, anger, compulsion, and restlessness. It is the hope of eternal life that allows God’s children to live with contentment, peace, and joy in this unstable world!

We live in a world where the enemy wants to draw every person, including the believers, into the bait of hatred, division, and animosity. As God’s people, we are called to do it differently! How do you fight the good fight of faith? Do you recognize the enemy’s schemes in derailing you from God’s purpose!? Are you ruled by God’s character in your life even when things don’t go your way? Do you have the hope of eternal life?

 

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