Tuesday, February 21, 2006

#34 Do You See Grapes or Giants?

#34 Do You See Grapes or Giants?
"These are the ones counted by Moses and Eleazar the priest when they counted the Israelites on the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho. Not one of them was among those counted by Moses and Aaron the priest when they counted the Israelites in the Desert of Sinai. For the Lord had told those Israelites they would surely die in the desert, and not one of them was left except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun." (Numbers 26: 63-65)

When Israel was counted in the wilderness of Sinai, months after leaving Egypt, there were 603,550 men twenty years or older who were able to serve in Israel's army. After almost 40 years of wilderness wanderings only three of these original men were left, Moses, Joshua and Caleb. No one who had been in Egypt or at Sinai were there. Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land because of his disobedience to God's command. He took God's place in word and deed when he said, "..must WE bring you water out of this rock?" (Numbers 20:10) and when he struck the rock instead of speaking to it as the Lord commanded. (Numbers 20:11) Only Caleb and Joshua would enter the promised land. It is a sad thought that out of all of these men, only two would enter. What made them so special? I believe there are three answers to that question.

The nation of Israel was at the border of the Promised Land. Their future was right in front of them. God's promise was about to be fulfilled. They had only to possess it. Twelve men were sent to check out the land. Twelve sets of eyes saw the same land and the same people, but they didn't all tell the same story. The differences must have been in the men themselves.

Joshua and Caleb remembered. All twelve saw the men who looked like giants but these two remembered the Red Sea. They remembered the manna from heaven. They remembered all of the things God had done for them. They remembered God's provisions, faithfulness, works and promises. All the other ten saw was the problem. They forgot what God did to Pharoah. Caleb and Joshua gave an evaluation prompted by faith in God..not fear. They knew what God had done in the past and had faith that He was more than able to handle their future according to what He had promised. Can you look back over the years and recall all that God has done for you? All the times that He has brought you out of a problem? Can you remember His provision, His protection, His saving grace and mercy? Can you remember where you were when He laid His loving hand on you? Are you looking at the problem or the faithfulness of God?

They saw the grapes, not the giants. The Bible tells us that a single cluster of grapes was so large that it took two men to carry them on a pole between them. This was quite a prosperous land. It was truly the land of milk and honey that was promised by God! An unknown source tells the story of a shoe salesman who was sent to a remote part of the country. When he arrived, he was dismayed because everyone went around barefoot. So he wired the company, "No prospect for sales. People don't wear shoes here." Later another salesman went to the same territory. He too immediately sent word to the home office. But his telegram read, "Great potential! People don't wear shoes here!" It's all in your perspective. Giants are simply a matter of perspective. Fear shows us how small we are compared to those giants. Faith shows us how small the giants are compared to God!

Caleb had confidence in God, not himself. In Numbers 13:30 he said, "We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it." He knew that God would be with them. He saw the land as "exceedingly good." As long as the Lord was pleased with them, he knew that God would lead them into the land and give it to them. He told the people not to be afraid because they would "swallow them up." The enemy's protection was gone..."but the Lord is with us." (see Numbers 14: 7-9) His eyes were on his God! The others were too scared of the giants they saw in the land that they were supposed to possess, and they did not have enough faith and belief in God to conquer and defeat these giants. As a result, they lost out on the biggest blessing of their entire life.

Are you seeing the grapes or the giants? Have you found the promises of God in your Bible and are you speaking them out of your mouth, meditating on them and standing on them for your victory? Or are you staring at the giant and trembling before him? Are you keeping your eyes on Jesus, the Truth or on the giant father of lies? Are you leaving God out of the equation and trying to fight your giant in your own strength? No wonder you feel like a grasshopper.

They weren't afraid to be in the minority. Only Joshua and Caleb were ready to trust God and enter in to conquer the land in the power of God. They were also willing to take the heat for their belief. In Numbers 14:10 the Bible says that the whole assembly talked about stoning them. The others saw themselves as "grasshoppers." Joshua and Caleb saw themselves as mighty in the power of God. They stood alone in the face of fierce opposition from their own people. They took their stand and did not waver.

There are always those around us who don't have faith and are not convinced that we will ever get the victory. When we are truly trusting God, many times we will be in the minority. People will try to convince us that we cannot live victoriously in Christ and that our problem is too big. Remember that Israel lost it's only chance to enter the Promised Land because of fear and doubt and unbelief. Don't let anyone sway you from what you are believing for. Believe God. "Let God be true, and every man a liar." (Romans 3:4)

God's answer to the question of why Joshua and Caleb were the only ones to enter the Promised Land is given in Numbers 32:12 and again in Deuteronomy 1:36 in reference to Caleb. The Lord says, "..for they followed the Lord wholeheartedly." To wholly follow means "to close the gap." It is a phrase used by hunters to refer to their closing the gap between themselves and their prey. It refers to the fact that Caleb and Joshua were committed to keeping the distance between themselves and the Lord at a minimum. They stuck close to Him like glue. They remembered His faithfulness, they trusted Him for their future, they saw grapes, not giants and they were willing to stand alone.

Joshua and Caleb were willing to pay the price, fight the battles and win the victory that God had waiting for them. Victorious people are those who look at their giants through the eyes of faith and not fear. The eyes of belief, not doubt. "Doubt wrings it's hands and says, 'Oh, what shall we do?' Faith takes a new grip on its sword and says, 'Come on; let's go and conquer them.'" (internet source) Go out today and conquer your giant. Don't join the ten doubters who died in the wilderness. Go and take possession of your promised land!

Donna SchultzSavemom@aol.com

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