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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Thursday, July 28, 2016
Today’s scripture reading:
Imagine standing before a crowd and loudly voicing an unpopular opinion! Caleb was willing to take the unpopular stand to do as God had commanded. To be effective when you go against the crowd, you must (1) have the facts (Caleb had seen the land himself); (2) have the right attitude (Caleb trusted God’s promise to give Israel the land); (3) state clearly what you believe (Caleb said, “We can certainly conquer it”).
With great miracles, God had led the Israelites out of slavery, through the desolate wilderness, and up to the very edge of the Promised Land. He had protected them, fed them, and fulfilled every promise. Yet when encouraged to take that last step of faith and enter the land, the people refused. After witnessing so many miracles, why did they stop trusting God? Why did they refuse to enter the Promised Land when that had been their goal since leaving Egypt? They were afraid. Often we do the same thing. We trust God to handle the smaller issues, but doubt his ability to take care of the big problems, the tough decisions, the frightening situations. Don’t stop trusting God just as you are ready to reach our goal. He brought you this far and won’t let you down now; we can continue trusting Him by remembering all He has done for us.
Two wise men, Joshua and Caleb, encouraged the people to act on God’s promise and move ahead into the land. The people rejected their advice and even talked of stoning them. Don’t be too quick to reject advice you don’t like. Evaluate it carefully, comparing it to the teaching in God’s Word. The advice may be God’s message. (NLT)
Numbers 13:26-14:9 – After exploring the land for forty days, the men returned to Moses, Aaron, and the people of Israel at Kadesh in the wilderness of Paran. They reported to the whole community what they had seen and showed them the fruit they had taken from the land. This was their report to Moses: “We arrived in the land you sent us to see, and it is indeed a magnificent country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is some of its fruit as proof. But the people living there are powerful, and their cities and towns are fortified and very large. We also saw the descendants of Anak who are living there! The Amalekites live in the Negev, and the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country. The Canaanites live along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and along the Jordan Valley.”
But Caleb tried to encourage the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!”
But the other men who had explored the land with him answered, “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” So they spread discouraging reports about the land among the Israelites. “The land we explored will swallow up any who go to live there. All the people we saw were huge. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. We felt like grasshoppers next to them, and that’s what we looked like to them!”
Then all the people began weeping aloud, and they cried all night. Their voices rose in a great chorus of complaint against Moses and Aaron. “We wish we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!” they wailed. “Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle! Our wives and little ones will be carried off as slaves! Let’s get out of here and return to Egypt!” Then they plotted among themselves, “Let’s choose a leader and go back to Egypt!”
Then Moses and Aaron fell face down on the ground before the people of Israel. Two of the men who had explored the land, Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, tore their clothing. They said to the community of Israel, “The land we explored is a wonderful land! And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey, and he will give it to us! Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!”
Caleb . . . said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” –Numbers 13:30 (NIV)
Cynthia Widmer (New York) titled her story “LOOKING FOR GOD;” here is Cynthia’s story:
“When Moses sent 12 spies to see a land God had promised to give the Israelites, the scouts came back with a unanimous report about what they had seen: This land flowed with milk and honey, but formidable people guarded it.
“Ten spies concluded they should give up all plans to possess a place filled with such intimidating people. But Caleb and Joshua argued that they should enter this bountiful land according to God’s promise. Had these two missed something? What about the guards in their daunting strongholds? But it was the 10, not Caleb and Joshua, who had missed something. The 10 failed to see God in the picture, while Caleb and Joshua envisioned God shaping the outcome. They recalled God’s past actions and trusted God’s promises for the future.
“Global problems and personal challenges often demand our attention. But, like the 10 spies, we often fail to see God’s presence in those circumstances. When we look for God in the picture, we can see things more clearly. We can step confidently into the future – however alarming it looks – and trust the Good Shepherd to lead the way.”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – Today I will remember God’s past faithfulness to me.
Prayer: Dear Lord, when horizons before us seem overwhelming, fill us with confidence in you. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Prayer Focus: PEACE IN OUR WORLD
To read other stories in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/
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