“The men who had gone up with [Caleb] said, ‘We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.’ So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, ‘The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.’
“Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, ‘Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?’ And they said to one another, ‘Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.’
“Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the people of Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes and said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, ‘The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. If the LORD delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey.’” 
Rudyard Kipling, poet laureate of Victorian England wrote the poem, “If.” The poem evokes the forgotten quality of self-discipline. This is that poem.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And – which is more – you'll be a Man my son! 
The sentiments of this poem are not necessarily embraced by this present generation, but it cannot be denied that sentiments such as those presented in the poem built a great empire and produced men admired throughout the entire world. Perhaps we would be well advised to consider embracing these qualities once again in order to ensure producing men of character.
The saints of the Most High God are not to be driven by emotion. The inhabitants of this fallen world are characterised by being driven by emotion. Our world is safer from shootings than at any time in multiple decades, and yet crowds insistently demand that politicians “Do something.” Death from opioid abuse has risen by an astounding four hundred percent. People are far more likely to die from beatings, from vehicle accidents, from drowning, and yet, the populace cries out for politicians “do something!”
What cannot be denied is that we have witnessed a breakdown of morality in modern society as the family and faith have been seriously eroded. These are foundational to the stability of any society. Though we are technologically advance compared to former generations, contemporary culture is morally stunted. The Psalmist has asked,
“If the foundations are destroyed,
what can the righteous do?”
In too many instances, our youth grow to adulthood without training in godly morality. Young men have no godly fathers modelling righteousness. Young women are untaught as to what they should expect of men. Society is confused and crumbling. All the while, experts tell us that everything is okay. Like stewards on the Titanic, spiritual leaders rearrange the deck chairs even as the great liner settles ever lower into the dark waters.
We who live in this present world often do face hard tasks. And Christians, especially, are called upon to perform difficult tasks simply because we live in this world. We will face giants. If we focus on the giants, we are certain to fail. If we draw upon the power of the LORD God who redeems us, we will witness His deliverance from every threat. To explore this theme, to encourage the people of God to rely upon His divine strength, review the account of Israel as they stood on the cusp of the Promised Land.
BACKGROUND — God had led Israel, the people whom He had chosen as His own beloved people, out of slavery. They had witnessed God’s protective hand. What power they had seen as God rained down multiple judgements on Egypt! Frogs, gnats, flies, the death of Egyptian livestock, boils and violent storms over the land. Then locusts and darkness before the firstborn of all man and beast were killed by God’s angel. Israel had witnessed God acting in their behalf. The Egyptians were only too glad to hurry the slaves out of the land, even rushing them while showering them with their wealth. “Hurry! Go! Leave us before we are all killed!”
The Psalmist praises God, writing,
“Then [the LORD] brought out Israel with silver and gold,
and there was none among his tribes who stumbled.
Egypt was glad when they departed,
for dread of them had fallen upon it.”
After the Israelites had left, Pharaoh had a change of heart. Israel had paused before the Red Sea. Pharaoh’s army saw Israel’s hesitation before the sea, and they thought that their former slaves were confused, that they didn’t know what to do, so they pursued them. The Israelites were trapped between the sea and the pursuing Egyptians! Only the LORD God stood between them and disaster. Again, we read in the Psalms,
“He spread a cloud for a covering,
and fire to give light by night.”
The Lord provided a pillar of smoke by day and a pillar of fire by night, standing between the people and the Egyptians. Everyone in the camp would have witnessed God’s might protecting His people until He had delivered them from what could only be said to be certain disaster.
You have heard the account of the little lad who came home from Sunday School. When his mother asked what they had learned that day, he said they learned about the people of Israel crossing the Red Sea. His mother, as mother’s do, asked him to tell her how that happened. So, the lad said, “Israel was about to be attacked by the Egyptian Army, but Moses ordered the Israeli jets to bomb the Egyptians and the tanks attacked to hold off the enemy while the engineers built a pontoon bridge. The people crossed over and then the sappers blew up the bridge and the people got away.”
The mother, amused but obviously skeptical at this account, asked, “Are you certain that’s the way your teacher told the story?”
The little fellow cast his eyes downward and replied solemnly, “No, Mom, but if I told you what the teacher said, you wouldn’t believe it.” That’s the way we might have written the story; but it wouldn’t be accurate.
This is how the Psalmist related the story of God’s mercy and grace.
“Yet [the LORD] saved them for his name’s sake,
that he might make known his mighty power.
He rebuked the Red Sea, and it became dry,
and he led them through the deep as through a desert.
So he saved them from the hand of the foe
and redeemed them from the power of the enemy.
And the waters covered their adversaries;
not one of them was left.”
You would think that such mighty demonstrations of God’s power displayed for His people would convince them that He would provide!
God fed His people and provided all that they required. The LORD gave them water in a desert land, and He sent them meat when they craved meat. He sent quail—so many quail that the people could never have eaten what was provided! The Living God did this so that they would know that He was well able to provide whatever they needed. He marched them right up to the edge of the land He had promised to give them. There, Moses prepared a spy team to search out the land in order to bring back a report.
This is the account as it is given in an early chapter in this Book of Numbers. “The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel. From each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a chief among them.’ So Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran, according to the command of the LORD, all of them men who were heads of the people of Israel… Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan and said to them, ‘Go up into the Negeb and go up into the hill country, and see what the land is, and whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many, and whether the land that they dwell in is good or bad, and whether the cities that they dwell in are camps or strongholds, and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether there are trees in it or not. Be of good courage and bring some of the fruit of the land.’ Now the time was the season of the first ripe grapes.” The account of sending out the spies concludes with the statement, “So they went up and spied out the land” [NUMBERS 13:1-3, 17-21].
Traversing the land, they discovered that it was truly a land of milk and honey. They travelled throughout the land, coming at last to the Valley of Eschol. There, we read that they “Cut down from there a branch with a single cluster of grapes, and they carried it on a pole between two of them; they also brought some pomegranates and figs. That place was called the Valley of Eshcol, because of the cluster that the people of Israel cut down from there” [NUMBERS 13:23-24]. These spies named the valley, which they had never seen before their transit throughout the land, the Valley of Clusters. The Hebrew term for “cluster” that is found in the TWENTY-FOURTH VERSE is “eschol,” hence, the name given to the valley in which the fruit was found. After forty days, the spies returned to the camp where they would deliver their report.
THE MAJORITY REPORT — “At the end of forty days [the spies] returned from spying out the land. And they came to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the people of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh. They brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. And they told him, ‘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. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the Negeb. The Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the hill country. And the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and along the Jordan…’
“The men who had gone up with [Caleb] said, ‘We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.’ So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, ‘The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them’” [NUMBERS 13:25-29, 31-33].
Barely three months after being freed from slavery in Egypt, God delivered the Law at Sinai. At that time, the Great Lawgiver warned Israel concerning those whom the people might follow: “You are not to follow the majority in doing wrong” [EXODUS 23:2a]. From the text before us today, it is obvious that this warning had not been taken to heart. This is the score: the majority is not always right. In fact, the majority is often wrong. People are more often driven by fear than by reason. Almost inevitably, the majority is more likely to allow their fears to inform their decision than they are to apply reason. Underscore the thought that people are more often driven by fear than they are compelled by logic. This truth applies to societies, to nations, to churches, to families. We will need incredible courage to resist the push to surrender to our fears.
As evidence of the veracity of that statement, consider that after every major shooting, and there are far too many, people demand that politicians “Do something!” Stampeded by fear, the populace is driven by politicians to demand ever stricter laws to control firearms. To be sure, the politicians are pandering to people’s fears, but seldom do people actually apply logic to realise that in almost every instance the firearms were obtained illegally, and the shooter was debarred from possessing or using firearms. If the shooter ignored present laws, what law would work? Yet, the strong emotions of fearful people continue to demand that something be done! The something never actually addresses the root of the problem which is lawlessness!
All who follow the Living God are instructed to seek Him. Listen to David.
“I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.”
No one claims that we are without fear when facing trials, when facing challenges. However, our fears must never be permitted to determine our response. We serve the Living God; He must be our guide, the One who directs our life, and especially determines how we are to respond to the challenges we face throughout life.
In point of fact, the majority report was correct. Note how the report was framed. The report began, “We are not able…” And that is factually correct! Let’s admit a sobering truth—we are not able. If we are able to do anything, we do not need God. However, if we realise our lack of strength, the absence of essential resources, the inability to fulfil what we desire, then we must confess, “We are not able.”
In our own strength, we cannot understand the mind of God. This is the confession Paul makes as he writes the saints in Corinth: “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” [1 CORINTHIANS 2:14]. Understanding the mind of the Lord comes when the Spirit of Christ is resident in an individual’s life. Otherwise, we are bereft of understanding. The message of the Cross is moronic, foolish, mere folly. This is the reason that the world rejects what we say—they cannot understand how the sacrifice of the Son of God can set them free.
Jesus cautioned that we must receive Him as Master, ruler of every facet of life. He said, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” [LUKE 14:26-33].
For an individual to imagine that reciting a prayer is sufficient to deliver one from God’s wrath, to think that merely becoming a church member will somehow make one a Christian, to believe that submitting to a ritual will suffice to redeem one’s soul is the height of folly. Christ must be king! If Jesus is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all. You are not able to do anything to deliver yourself from God’s judgement. You are not able to make yourself acceptable to the Living God. You are not able to do anything that will secure your salvation. You have neither the strength nor the ability to do this. If you will be saved, it must be all of grace as you receive Christ as Master over your life.
In words that are easily understood, the Master calls us to rest in Him. Jesus said, “I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” [LUKE 12:22-34].
Without God, we are not able to face any of the challenges that face us as a congregation. Without the LORD, we are not able to accomplish anything of eternal worth. In the days of Ahaz, King of Judah, the land was threatened by a great army that came against the nation. The account of the invasion is related in the prophecy of Isaiah. We read, “In the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, king of Judah, Rezin the king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah the king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to wage war against it, but could not yet mount an attack against it. When the house of David was told, ‘Syria is in league with Ephraim,’ the heart of Ahaz and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind” [ISAIAH 7:1-2].
Israel was compelled to confess that they were not able; but God sent His prophet with a message that what man couldn’t do, the LORD God would do. Isaiah carried the message of divine deliverance. The message the Lord sent counselled the king, “Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands, at the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria and the son of Remaliah. Because Syria, with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has devised evil against you, saying, ‘Let us go up against Judah and terrify it, and let us conquer it for ourselves, and set up the son of Tabeel as king in the midst of it,’ thus says the Lord GOD:
‘“It shall not stand,
and it shall not come to pass.
For the head of Syria is Damascus,
and the head of Damascus is Rezin.
And within sixty-five years
Ephraim will be shattered from being a people.
And the head of Ephraim is Samaria,
and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah.
If you are not firm in faith,
you will not be firm at all.’”
The people of Judah were correct—they were not able! The forces they faced were too powerful for the nation to resist. Judah would be subjugated by these foreign invaders in short order. The nation would be conquered, the armies defeated because they were not able to do anything against the foe.
On another occasion, a godly king was threatened by a vast army. The Chronicler writes, “The Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle. Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, ‘A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar’ (that is, Engedi). Then Jehoshaphat was afraid” [2 CHRONICLES 20:1-3a]. Jehoshaphat had every reason to be afraid. However, the king acted wisely when confronted with this threat. He prayed, inviting the entire nation to join him ins prayer!
Jehoshaphat’s prayer is recorded for our instruction. “O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for your name, saying, ‘If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you—for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.’ And now behold, the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy—behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit. O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” [2 CHRONICLES 20:6-12].
Israel was confronted with disaster. The Philistines had enlisted a champion, a giant, who challenged any Israelite to meet him on a field of combat. The soldiers were frightened, collectively cowering before this frightful foe. A shepherd boy, a mere lad, was incensed that anyone could insult the armies of the Living God in this fashion. His words came to the king, as is inevitable for those who speak openly. And when he appeared before the king, David said, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine” [1 SAMUEL 17:32].
Note the king’s response to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth” [1 SAMUEL 17:33].
That is precisely the response of the majority whenever the assembly attempts great things in the Name of the Lord—we are not able! We can’t do this! This is impossible! We’ll fail! Or worse still, we hear the seven last words of the church, “We’ve never done it that way before!” The majority implores us to be reasonable. The majority pleads with us to consider the opposition we face. The majority sees only what is possible in our own strength. The majority has determined that we no longer need God. We will do what we can accomplish in our own strength and ask God to bless that.
Let’s expand the media ministry! How much money do we have on hand? How much can we depend on the people to give? Can we bring in enough to do what is proposed? The project depends on us, and it seems impossible.
Let’s present a ministry that will touch the town and ensure a great harvest of souls! Who will come? How will we secure the facilities needed? Who can we get that will be a draw to the community? Thus, the project is put on hold because we are not able.
So long as our eyes are focused on what we can do, we will never attempt anything of eternal worth for the cause of Christ. Like Peter when Jesus called him to walk on the sea, we begin to look at the conditions surrounding us, and we begin to sink. There is wisdom in the words of the Qohóleth:
“He who observes the wind will not sow,
and he who regards the clouds will not reap.”
THE MINORITY REPORT — “Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, ‘Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it’” [NUMBERS 13:30]. The majority report is an honest report that demonstrates that the focus is on the conditions we face. The majority report is a fair assessment of our abilities. However, the majority report discounts the mind of the Living God.
Caleb had seen the LORD, and He sought to follow God, fulfilling His will. Because Caleb and Joshua had followed the Lord, they would enjoy the blessings God would send on those who had spied out the land. God spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “How long shall this wicked congregation grumble against me? I have heard the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they grumble against me. Say to them, ‘As I live, declares the LORD, what you have said in my hearing I will do to you: your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness, and of all your number, listed in the census from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against me, not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, who you said would become a prey, I will bring in, and they shall know the land that you have rejected. But as for you, your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years and shall suffer for your faithlessness, until the last of your dead bodies lies in the wilderness. According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, a year for each day, you shall bear your iniquity forty years, and you shall know my displeasure.’ I, the LORD, have spoken. Surely this will I do to all this wicked congregation who are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall come to a full end, and there they shall die” [NUMBERS 14:27-35].
This commentary is appended to the Word of the LORD delivered through Moses. “The men whom Moses sent to spy out the land, who returned and made all the congregation grumble against him by bringing up a bad report about the land—the men who brought up a bad report of the land—died by plague before the LORD. Of those men who went to spy out the land, only Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh remained alive” [NUMBERS 14:36-38].
Joshua and Caleb would enter into the Promised Land. Joshua would lead the children of those who brought the majority report, and they would inherit the land which God promised. I read again the account of Moses viewing the Promised Land as recorded at the conclusion of the fifth book of the Bible, the Book of Deuteronomy. “Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the LORD showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the western sea, the Negeb, and the Plain, that is, the Valley of Jericho the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. And the LORD said to him, ‘This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, “I will give it to your offspring.” I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.’ So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD, and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no one knows the place of his burial to this day. Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated. And the people of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days. Then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.
“And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. So the people of Israel obeyed him and did as the LORD had commanded Moses” [DEUTERONOMY 34:1-9].
Reading those words, my mind turned to a stirring speech made several millennia later. It was the final speech Dr. Martin Luther King would deliver. The date was April 3, 1968, and Doctor King was speaking in Memphis, Tennessee. The day after delivering this message, Doctor King would die, struck down by an assassin’s bullet. Like a prophet of old, Doctor King concluded his message with these words that April night.
“I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop.
“And I don't mind.
“Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!
“And so I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man! Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!” 
Who are you listening to? Where are your eyes fixed? Who are you following? You can be driven by emotion, or you can fix your eyes on the Shepherd that always leads His flock in the paths of righteousness. And if your eyes are fixed on Him, and if you are listening for His voice, you will hear Him directing your steps. Our Lord has promised, “Though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left” [ISAIAH 30:20-21]. That is what I want. He is the One who will guide me. He will lead me over and bring me in.
Now, some have yet to determine that they will follow the Saviour. Oh, they have submitted to a ritual, they have joined a church, but they have yet to be born into this Family of God. Our call is a call to righteousness, a call to life in the Beloved Son of God. Believe this message and be saved today. Trust Him; do it now.
But I say to the people of God who may be tempted to listen to the majority, hear the message of the Spirit. Listen to the voice of the Master speaking in your ear, and urging you that through Him you can glorify His Name. With the Psalmist, may each Christian confess,
“By you I can run against a troop,
and by my God I can leap over a wall.
This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.”
 Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2016. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 Rudyard Kipling, “If,” published in “Rewards and Fairies,” 1910
 Martin Luther King, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” 3 April 1968, https://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkivebeentothemountaintop.htm, accessed 27 August 2019