Summary: Are you listening to the right voice?

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The Right Voice

Numbers 13:30

Woodlawn Baptist Church

November 11, 2007

Last week I spoke to you about fear, and as I did, many of you said that God spoke to you about your own fears. Remember that the people of Israel responded to God’s instructions to take Canaan with fear: fear of the giants, the fortified cities, the powerful and numerous enemies, but mostly just fear that they didn’t have what it took to do what God said. We looked at John 10, where Jesus said that He came to give us abundant life, and we saw that abundant life is directly tied to the absence of fear. Jesus said that His sheep hear His voice, and they follow. Do they follow because they don’t have fear? Not at all, but rather they follow because they trust the voice of the One who calls.

Israel missed God’s greatest blessings to them: the Promised Land, but most importantly, the life He desired for them as they lived out His will for them. They missed abundant life simply because they weren’t listening to His voice. Because they listened to all the wrong voices, they spent their lives in the wilderness, eventually dying there, never knowing the real blessings of God.

I know that kind of fear. I know what its like to miss out on God’s blessings because I listened to the wrong voices. I’ve listened to the wrong voices in my marriage: voices like pop culture, friends without a biblical worldview, and more. I’ve listened to those same wrong voices as I’ve tried to raise my children. Consider just one example in the area of discipline. Go to the magazine stand and you’ll find a 101 ways to discipline a child, and none of them have to do with a rod. Which voice will we heed?

There are countless examples of this. Many of you expressed last Sunday how good it was to recognize your own fears and see how they cause you to miss out on abundant life. It’s more than fear of heights, or spiders, or small places. The real fears we must face are the fears like the fear of failing or the fear of rejection; the fear of criticism or the fear of being alone. Do you remember the fear God spoke to you about? Get that fear fixed in your mind again today. I shared with you some observations about fear.

1. Fear always has a “but.”

2. Fear looks for the obstacles

3. Fear focuses on the difficulties

4. Fear spreads like wildfire

5. Fear doesn’t listen to reason

6. Fear demoralizes and immobilizes us

7. Fear says “if only”

8. Fear says “we can’t”

9. Fear longs for the comfort of yesterday

10. Fear will cause us to act foolishly

11. Fear of this sort is offensive to God

Fear is one of our basest emotions, perhaps the most troubling emotion we experience, but God never intended for us to live or operate that way in our marriages, our jobs, in our other important relationships, nor here in our church.

Last week I left you with that one idea – that God never intended for us to live or operate in fear mode. I suspect that you don’t want to live or operate that way either. Imagine the liberty of being free to love your spouse without fear of him or her leaving you. Imagine the freedom that comes when you don’t fear losing your job. How would your life be different if those fears were gone? How liberating would it be to not worry what others think about you? To act without constantly looking over your shoulder? To do a thing without worrying whether you’ll fail? Pretty sweet, huh? But knowing you don’t have to fear and knowing God does not want you to fear isn’t enough. What does He want? Thankfully we’re not left to wonder.

We’re going to go back and reconsider the same two passages we read last week and see exactly what God does want, and we’ll find it exemplified in the life of Caleb.

Read Numbers 13:25-14:10 and make comparisons between the fear of the people and the faith of Caleb.

So how did Caleb respond? He does his best to reason with the mob and make the appeal for immediate obedience. “Let’s go at once! We can conquer it!” But not only that, when Israel refused, he was torn up about it. He fell to the ground in grief, tore his clothes, appealed to them again and pleaded with them not to rebel against God.

Now Caleb saw the same giants, the same fortified cities, the same powerful enemies that the other spies saw, but his response was absolutely different. In fact, Numbers 14:24 tells us that Caleb had a different attitude, or another spirit about him than did the rest of Israel, and what was the result of that different attitude or spirit? Read verse 24 with me.

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