Thanks to songs, cartoons, and various retellings, the Battle of Jericho has become as well known as virtually any story in Western Civilization. Yet, an important part of this story often gets left out: if it would have been left up to the people of Israel this miraculous event would have never occurred. The story really begins when Moses sends spies into the Promised Land. The majority of the group was so freaked out by the warlike people they saw they sent the people into a panic:
“We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are. The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height.” Numbers 13:31-32
There was one in the group, Caleb, that saw things differently. Caleb was not naive, reckless, or merely trying to curry favor with the people. Rather, instead of doubting the abilities of the Israelites, he trusted in the power and faithfulness of God.
“The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey.” Numbers 14:7-8
What does Caleb’s optimism and faith get him? Well, at first it almost gets him stoned by the pessimistic people. Fortunately, God inspires the people and convinces them to have faith in His plan and faithfulness. My question today is, are we more like Caleb, or are we more like the people of Israel? In other words, in the face of difficulty in our lives, do we have faith in the power and faithfulness of God, or do we get overcome by fear? I’ll be honest, there are times in my life when I let my fear in the face of difficulty prevent me from trusting God. Over the past few months our family has experienced A LOT of problems with vehicles, which has stretched us financially and practically (we’ve gotten a crash course in using public transportation here in Nicaragua, which is a LITTLE different then the states). I have had many moments during these months where I have wondered why in the world we are here. In the end, I’ve realized I need to have faith in God and His guidance. Instead of worrying about the difficulty in front of us we need to trust in the good God will do in front of us. If the Israelites would have let their fear lead them they would have never experienced the miraculous victory at Jericho, let alone the prosperity of the promise land. Let’s not miss opportunities to see God work in mighty ways. Like Caleb before us let us trust in God’s love, strength, and plan, knowing that God is always going before us to pave our way.