“…do not be afraid…the Lord is with us” (Numbers 14:9).
>>> WE MAY READ THESE WORDS THAT HAVE BECOME SO FAMILIAR TO US today, and miss the context in which they were first spoken. But the context is what makes this exhortation so powerful at this point in our industry’s journey.
We’ve talked about the Israelites preparing to cross the Jordan River under Joshua’s leadership. Before they got there, though, Moses sent out spies to explore the land the Lord had given them.
Do you remember their report? They said, “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey!… But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large… We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are” (Numbers 13:26-31)
We’re on a good path, and He’s promised good things to those who are faithful.
These spies then went throughout their community “spreading a bad report about the land they had explored”(Numbers 13:32). The affect of their fear caused those around them to despair that they ever left Egypt, and some of the people began to make plans to go back—even into the slavery from which they had just come.
It’s into this scene that Moses and Aaron, along with Joshua and Caleb (who were among the spies) encouraged the people “do not be afraid…the Lord is with us.”
Why do you suppose Joshua and Caleb had a perspective about the land that was different from the other spies? How were they able to stand firm in God’s promise when others stood trembling in their shoes? What made the difference between their resolve and the others’ fear?
Joshua and Caleb saw the same land and the same giants that the other spies saw, but they chose to believe the Lord’s promises and they fully expected Him to fulfill them. The Lord Himself said, “But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it” (Numbers 14:24).
This story offers some insights for our journey as well. We all began our work out of a sense of calling from God—that there was important work to do to take His Word out into the world and that He had prepared a place for us in His story. And how enthusiastically we followed that call, especially when it was fresh and new!
We may not know what the future holds—but we do know our mission.
Now we’re looking ahead into a land that doesn’t seem as familiar as it once was. The landscape feels like it’s changing faster than we can manage. Technology. Secularism. digital natives. Impending laws. Clashing worldviews. Given all these “giants,” are we even still sure of our call?
Let me encourage you that the work the Lord called us to do is timeless. As long as there are people in the world who don’t know Him, there’s work for us to do. We’re on a good path, and He’s promised good things to those who are faithful.
So, what holds us back as we look ahead? Are the giants too powerful? The culture too strong? The cost too great?
Is it time to throw our hands up, exclaiming “oh, well, I gave it a try”? Or is it time to band together, trust in God’s promises, and take the giants head-on?
We may not know what the future holds or how it will change the way we carry out our mission—but we do know our mission.
How were Joshua and Caleb able to stand firm?
It’s to keep engaging the culture with the truth of God—not shrinking from the tough issues of the day, but showing the world how God’s Word speaks to those issues, with great love and compassion. Like Baker Book House hosting a discussion on homosexuality and the church; Send The Light forging new trails for children’s products; Hobby Lobby/Mardel taking a stand for religious liberties that affect all faith-based businesses—just to name a few who are redefining the old models of what the Christian products industry is, and what it could be.
We’ve all heard the reports, and the giants are big. But our God is bigger, His promises are true, and we’re moving forward to take the land.
Will you accept the call to a new adventure?
Peace and Grace,