What’s This About Safety?

Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan and said,.. ‘Be of good courage and bring some of the fruit of the land…’ So they went up and spied out the land… 

“At the end of forty days they returned… and showed them the fruit of the land. ‘We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large.’ But Caleb quieted the people and said, ‘Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.’ The men who had gone up with him said, ‘We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.’ Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and… all the people of Israel grumbled… ‘Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword?’ 

“Joshua and Caleb said to all the congregation of Israel, ‘The land is an exceedingly good land… Do not fear the people. The Lord is with us.’ ..And the Lord said to Moses, ‘How long will this people not believe in me?'” Numbers 13:17,20-21,25-28,30-31; 14:1-3,6-7,9,11

The Israelite spies lost sight of God’s promise for their future and the lush fruit of the land because fear of the enemy and defeat blocked their vision, obliterating any bravery and hope. But Joshua and Caleb’s resolve to trust God’s pledge invigorated boldness, swelling their holy desire into confidence to conquer and see God glorified. Since when had their Captain commanded they stay safe?

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I recently read a book about today’s “safety” culture. After eons of ‘preparing children for the road,’ we have morphed into ‘preparing the road for children,’ determining that safety should be our number one focus, at all cost. Is this scriptural? In everyday life, with each challenge faced, we are confronted with choosing whether to trust God in the good conquest, or fear for our safety, and retreat. These tests of our faith, which are really a measure of our belief in God, He presents continually as opportunities to build our faith.

Where have our priorities fallen prey to the world’s message and mold? Have we become deaf to the heavenly call, and lost sight of God’s ability and eternal benefit for the muddle of temporal obstacles, discomforts, and risks? (1 Peter 5:7)

Have we succumbed to fearing what lies ahead, instead of the God who calls us forward? Certainly we should exercise discernment and prudence, but are we more concerned with our safety than our courage to trust His care and purposes? Faith muscles atrophy from misuse and protecting ourselves from every possible peril. Jesus frequently met His disciples in dangerous situations with the admonition not to fear, and the Scriptures command us to trust the Lord completely, obey and work wholeheartedly, witness boldly,  forgive lavishly, speak truth lovingly, wage battles bravely, not ‘be safe.’ They teach us that hiding in Him and His name is our place of safety, no matter what happens. They give numerous examples of heroes who lived by this faith. Will I be one? (Psalm 4:8; 37:3; 91:1-2; Proverbs 18:10; 29:25; Isaiah 41:10; Daniel 3:17-18; Matthew 18:21-22; John 6:18-20; 20:19; Ephesians 4:15; 6:12-13,19-20; Colossians 3:23; 2 Timothy 4:18; Hebrews 11:23,27,32-34)

Lord, may I unhaltingly fight the good fight of faith. In every risk of heeding Your call, into Your strong, able hands I commit my spirit, my life, and my times. (Psalm 31:5,14-15; 1 Timothy 6:12)

 

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