Summary: Will we live by faith or by calculation? Joshua and Caleb demonstrate faith that focuses on what God can and promises to do.
"Grasshopper Faith?" Numbers 13,14
Names are really interesting. Parents often spend countless hours deciding what to name their children. We know names are important. In some countries and cultures, names carry significant meanings intended to shape the character of the child. In some cultures, a first or middle name is handed down for generations. In almost any culture, there are some names that become very popular for a time. There are some names that people remember right away because of what they did in history. John F. Kennedy. Martin Luther King. Charles Manson. Adolph Hitler.
Here are some names you might remember. Shammua, Shaphat, Igal, Palti, Geul, Gaddiel, Ammiel, Suthur, Nahbi. Don’t sound familiar? Never heard of anyone named after these guys?
How about these . . . Joshua, Caleb? My own son is named Caleb, and my neighbor’s son is named Joshua. People have named their sons these two names for thousands of years. Why? You see, the first names I read were the names of the ten spies who went by God’s order to search out the Promised Land after the people of Israel had been delivered from slavery in Egypt. They were the ten who came back with a negative report of the land, scaring God’s people and influencing them to disobey God’s command to enter and possess the land.
Joshua and Caleb, on the other hand, were the two spies who came back with a favorable report, encouraging the people to obey God and enter the land God had promised them - TO LIVE BY FAITH. Let’s look back at that story for a moment. We find it in Numbers 13:25-33 and 14:6-9.
Notice what it was that God sent the twelve men to do. They were to "explore" the land. It was the land God said He was "giving to the Israelites." He wasn’t sending them on a missions to decide whether or not to actually possess the land. They were just supposed to go explore the area that was now to be their home, the land God had promised to give to them since the days of Abraham.
I. The report of the ten spies.
A. They affirmed that God was faithful. It was good land - desirable.
- "It certainly does flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit." - vs. 27
B. They were concerned about the obstacles.
- Nevertheless, the people are strong. - vs. 28
- the cities are fortified and the descendants of Anak are there. (Giants)
C. We are not able to go up against the people." - vs. 31
1. They are too strong for us.
2. The land devours its inhabitants.
3. All the men are of great size.
4. We became like grasshoppers in our own sight and theirs.
- The problem: they focused on themselves and their own inadequate resources and abilities and power to possess the land. If only they can continues their report by concluding, "But God has certainly promised to give us this land, and He has always been faithful. Remember the plagues He sent to make Pharaoh let us leave? Remember the parting of the Red Sea. Remember how God provided water for us and food for us in the desert? He’s gotten us out of impossible situations before and will do it again. Let’s go."
- God had promised, and He was able.
- Mtt. 19:26
- Lk. 1:37
- To think it could not be done was to limit God’s power or to doubt His faithfulness.
- But then it’s always easier to be pessimistic and negative when facing difficult circumstances. It seems safer. That way you don’t set yourself up for possible disappointment or failure.
- illus: optimist farmer vs. pessimist farmer.
- Have you ever known someone who was this way? Have you ever been this way? Are there areas of your life where you have not yet lived by faith because you fear what seems difficult or impossible by your own abilities or resources? Before we answer that, let’s look at the other report - the one given by Joshua and Caleb.
II. Joshua and Caleb’s report.
A.They desired to obey God.
- "We should by all means go up and take possession of it." - vs. 30
- by all means - I think Joshua and Caleb were truly surprised by the pessimism of the other ten men. After all, that wasn’t one of the options God left them. Haven’t we learned our lesson seeing God deliver us several times recently?
B They focused on God’s power and resources.
- "He will bring us into this land and give it to us." - 14:8
C. Their confidence was in doing God’s will..
- "Only do not rebel against the Lord, and do not fear the people of the land, for they shall be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them." - 14:9