Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Seeing our challenges from God’s perspective instead of our own.

Numbers 13, Joshua 14

Max Lucado, in his book, In the Eye of the Storm, opens his book with the story of Chippy the Parakeet. Chippy’s cage was being cleaned out one day by his owner when this particular event occurred. Chippy’s owner had the vacuum cleaner out...had the attachments removed...and was using the hose to clean out Chippy’s cage while Chippy, by the way, was still in the cage. The phone rang. As she turned to her left to answer the phone, she accidentally moved the vacuum cleaner to her right, a little bit too close to Chippy. Suddenly, while she was answering the phone, she heard this "zoop." To her horror, she realized that she had sucked Chippy into the vacuum cleaner. She dropped the phone and reached down to quickly turn off the vacuum cleaner. She opened it up and found Chippy in there still alive but covered with soot. So she grabbed him, raced to the bathroom, turned on the cold water and stuck Chippy under the running cold water. She washed him off real good, and then she noticed him shivering.

She got out her blow dryer and decided to give him some blasts of hot air to quickly dry him out. Well, the reporter who had found out about the event and was following the story called back a few days later to find out how Chippy was doing. The owner replied, "Well, Chippy doesn’t sing much anymore. He just kind of sits and stares."

Lucado observed that Chippy was sucked in, washed up, and blown over. I wonder how many of you have been sucked in, washed up, and blown over. Indeed, we’ve all faced, from time to time, some giant-sized challenges. Many of you still face those same giant-sized challenges. Many of us still have lurking somewhere in our hearts that fear of some giant-sized challenge that we know is looming on the horizon .... something we already have identified and know we’re going to have to face. For the rest of us, we have been met with the stark realization that every year is going to hold its giant-sized challenges.

Now I don’t know what your giant-sized challenges may be. It may be a challenge regarding your family. It may be a challenge regarding your finances.

Being a witness for Jesus Christ and focusing on that emphasis may be your giant-sized challenge. Perhaps, your giant-sized challenge is an area of temptation. Maybe, it’s dealing with your past. Whatever it is, I want us to look at the life of a man in God’s Word who can give us some wonderful helps for how to face those giants.

A Biblical Example to Follow

Now probably the person that came immediately to your mind was David. But the man I want to tell you about was named Caleb. You see, Caleb was the first giant killer, and he didn’t just drive off one giant. He took care of three giants.

By the way, he did it not as a young man but as a man in his eighties. He was eighty-five years old. That ought to be an encouragement to all of us.

Let’s look at Numbers 13. Let me remind you of the setting for this passage. Caleb was an Israelite. He was part of the some two million Israelites who had been delivered out of bondage in Egypt. Moses was their leader. God had promised that Moses would deliver his people and would take them to a land of promise, flowing with milk and honey.

As we come to this passage in Numbers 13, they had arrived at a place called Kadesh Barnea. Here, they have found themselves on the very edge of entering the promised land. God told Moses at this point to select twelve men to go and explore the land, to be spies, if you will. So they selected one leader from each of the tribes of Israel to carry this out. Caleb was the one selected as the leader from the tribe of Judah. So Moses sends the spies into the land. For forty days, they explore the land, and they come back with some evidence that indeed this is a land flowing with milk and honey. In fact, the Bible says that they found a cluster of grapes, and it took two men to carry this cluster of grapes on a pole between them.

But let’s look at this amazing report that is given by these spies.

First the majority reported, beginning in Numbers 13:27: "They gave Moses this account: ’We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. [The huge cluster of grapes] But the people who live there are powerful and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. [These would be giant-sized warriors.] The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.’" That’s the majority report of the ten.

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