Fear or Faith?

The story in Numbers 13-14 is sad, instructive, and a beautiful display of God’s character. Representatives from the twelve tribes of Israel have just returned from spying out Canaan at God’s command, and reported they had found a rich, fruitful land. “‘However, the people are strong, the cities fortified and very large. The land devours its inhabitants, the people are of great height and we seem to ourselves like grasshoppers.’ But Caleb quieted the people and said, ‘Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.'” What a contrast!

S Africa, fields with mountains, one gold

Then the people cry out, weep, grumble, and complain, full of fear for their safety and a victim-mentality–oh, that they had stayed in Egypt (where they also whined and complained, in slavery)! But Caleb and Joshua, motivated by faith, countered,“The LORD is with us; do not fear them,” and plead with the people to believe He would bring them into the promised land. When God’s righteous anger burns, Moses intercedes for mercy for the sake of God’s reputation, character, and word. God promises both grace, and judgment on the rebellious.

Driven by fear, we are self-consumed, worriers, complainers, victims. We think we know best, but we miss much. Driven by faith, we are God-focused, hopeful, courageous, confident in the One whose “power and steadfast love are great.” We trust His promises and paths, and get to enjoy the fullness of conquering with Him. Which attitude, which living, do I choose?

“[They] have stumbled and fallen, because their speech and their deeds are against the LORD, defying his glorious presence.” Isaiah 3:8

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen.” Lord, may I, in faith, “go up at once” wherever You bid me, convinced of the call, Your  promises, and Your glorious presence. (Hebrews 11:1).

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