“Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but he Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” (Numbers 14:9)
One of the ongoing themes in this devotional series is the fact that no matter how great our spiritual victories and accomplishments may seem, we must always realize that it is the Lord’s hand at work in our lives, not our own strength. God gives His warriors strength to win their battles for two reasons: because He loves and cares about our well-being, and because doing so brings honor and glory to Himself (something that aids the spread of His Gospel, bringing others to repentance and salvation, bringing us back to the first reason yet again…). God does not give anything to us for the purpose of inflating our own self-conceit. God’s purposes always move toward bringing people closer to Him. Displaying a trust in self rather than in Him takes us and others further away from God.
At a time when his fellow scouts were proclaiming doom and gloom about the inhabitants of the Promised Land to which God had led His people, Caleb remained confident of victory. He knew that their strength lay not in their own numbers or size or weaponry, but in the promise and protection of God Almighty. He reminded his comrades that no matter how fearsome the enemy, God is greater by far. And he also pointed out that courage in the face of hardship and trouble isn’t just a mental health exercise, or a positive thinking tactic, or some other “feel-good” approach to life; it was a command given to them by the Lord Himself, and to disobey meant open rebellion.
God takes our well-being very seriously – especially our spiritual well-being. He’s not about to sit idly by while we get into a habit of fear and doubt regarding His promises to us. After all, those promises are the foundation of our life and salvation. If I doubt that God will give me strength to bear my trials and burdens in life, or grace to fight bravely against the darkness of this world, what will stop me from doubting His promise to forgive and redeem me?
Like all commands, we as sinners often break God’s orders to act with faith and courage in our lives. Thanks be to God that He is faithful even when we are not: “if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself” (2 Timothy 2:13). Though we fail to trust many of the wonderful promises that God makes to us – for strength in adversity, for courage in hardship, for help in time of temptation – the one promise that we mustn’t doubt is the central theme of the entire Bible: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).
“The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him” (Daniel 9:9).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, grant me strength and courage in all of life’s trials and temptations. Give me grace to glorify You before men for the victories unto which You lead me. But most of all, keep my faith steadfast in Your promise of forgiveness, renewal, and eternal life through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.