We need to have faith for the future
Published 1:33 pm Friday, January 6, 2006
The Old Testament character Caleb was a man of faith. He was one of twelve spies in the book of Numbers, chapter 13.
The spies were sent by Moses to survey Canaan before the conquest was to begin. Twelve spies went and twelve returned, but only Caleb and Joshua gave reports of faith. All twelve spies saw the same walled cities and the giants. Ten spies looked through eyes of fear, but Joshua and Caleb looked through eyes of faith. Joshua and Caleb's challenge to the people was, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it” (Numbers 13:30).
The 10 fearful spies won the day. They convinced the people the task could not be done. Despite the urgings of Joshua and Caleb, the people turned back.
The penalty for fear and lack of faith for the nation of Israel was forty years of wandering in the wilderness. God's plan was to give time for all the fear-filled rebels to die. Joshua and Caleb spent forty years in the wilderness with the rebels, but their faith never dimmed. Joshua rose to be the leader of the people when Moses died, and Caleb was as ready as ever to conquer when the time in the wilderness was over.
Caleb was 85 years old when the conquest of Canaan finally began. He must have been at Jericho marching around the city; he persevered with the army of Israel through the fighting in the north, and finally came to Judah in the south.
Caleb appealed to Joshua in Joshua, chapter 14, verse 12: “Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim were there, and that the cities were great and fortified. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the Lord said.”
The promise of God to Caleb never dimmed in all the time wandering around the wilderness. Caleb had lived out Romans, chapter 5, verses 3-4, long before it was penned by Paul: “. . . we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
Caleb's faith only seemed to intensify as he waited on God. Caleb discounted the fact that he was now eighty-five, giving full credit to God for keeping him alive and strong (Joshua 14:10).
God builds faith through waiting. God promised Abraham godly seed; Abraham waited years to see it come to pass.
It says of Abraham in the book of Romans, chapter 4, verses 20-21, “He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was able also to perform.”
This is the time for faith. Our culture spirals downward, hurried along by the rejection of absolute values and the doctrine of tolerance. Things that were once unthinkable are becoming commonplace. The lifestyles of Sodom and Gomorrah are being paraded in defiance of everything righteous.
We must have and practice faith. God is not dead; He still rules. The history of religious progress in these United States reveals that when the hour seemed darkest, God moved mightily.
We must pray. We must seek the face of God. There are giants in the land today and mountains to climb. Let us have the faith of Caleb and trust God to be with us as we live and share the message of Jesus Christ.
MRev. Dan Puckett is a minister with Life Action Ministeries. He writes a weekly column for the Niles Daily Star.