Struggles, trials, tribulations, oh my! Many of us are like the cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz, shrinking from every problem that comes along, wondering what God is up to, praying that whatever it is, it will quickly pass. No one likes problems and struggles. No one likes to be in the middle of a battle. Right? Nobody gets excited about a battle or runs straight toward it. Right?
I would have thought so too until I read about Caleb in Joshua 14. Caleb was one of the 12 spies whom Moses sent to check out the promised land. Only he and Joshua came back with a good report, saying how wonderful it was and yes, there were giants, but with God, they could defeat them! The other 10 spies said "no way!"
Forty years later after they entered the promised land and had defeated most of the inhabitants, listen to what Caleb says. This blew me away! I know it's long but worth the read!
I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy out the land, and I brought back word to him as it was in my heart. Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt, but I wholly followed the Lord my God. So Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land where your foot has trodden shall be your inheritance and your children’s forever, because you have wholly followed the Lord my God.’ And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, as He said, these forty-five years, ever since the Lord spoke this word to Moses while Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in. 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.” Joshua 14:7-12
Caleb is now 85 years old! He's spent most of his life wandering around the wilderness and then the next few years doing battle in the promised land. Now, he's asking Joshua here for permission to go battle the Anakim. These weren't ordinary people. The Anakim were giants. Caleb is anxious for battle, not for the sake of battle, but because God ordained that the Israelites were to defeat and drive out all the inhabitants of the land. Caleb also received a personal word from God that every place his foot landed would be his inheritance and his children's forever. Why? Because Caleb wholly followed the Lord.
What about us? Has God spoken a promise over your life? Or perhaps one of His promises in the Bible keeps leaping out at you and you know He's speaking to you? Yet in order to claim that promise, you must pass through a mountain full of giants standing in your way ....problems, struggles, trials ahead. The way will not be easy but fraught with battles and difficulty. So, instead of grabbing your sword and charging into battle, believing in God's promises and His help, you cower in the shadows, trembling in fear. Does this sound like you? It sounds like me most of the time.
What would have happened if Israel had never faced the giants in the land?
What would have happened if Moses refused to go to Egypt and free his people?
What would have happened if Esther had refused to go to the king to save her people?
What if Daniel had caved to the culture in Babylon, never was tossed in the Lion's den, and never received the prophecies he wrote in his book
What if John the Baptist had refused to live in the desert and eat locusts and proclaim the coming Messiah?
What if Jesus had refused to go to the cross?
What if Paul and Peter and the other apostles had hidden in caves and refused to go spread the Gospel?
What is it you are refusing to do today that you know God has asked, but you're too afraid of the giants in the way?