Caleb . . . wholly followed the Lord, the God of Israel (Joshua 14:14).
Have you found yourself in a setting where the leader gives a controversial statement and group members are asked to move to one side of the room if they agree and the other side if they disagree? How did this activity make you feel? How willing were you to stay true to your view, especially if it went against popular opinion?
In real life, we can usually get by with being a little different, but anything appearing too extreme is . . . well, different. Different infers a minority. And the majority usually wins. Or so it seems. In Beth Moore’s words, we derive “a strange sense of security from sameness.”*
Recently, I read about a man who had “a different spirit.” Why? Because he “followed [God] fully” and rose above the fears of the majority (Numbers 14:24).
The man’s name? Caleb. His assignment? To spy out enemy territory. He and eleven other leaders spent forty days on a secret mission. Hiding. Watching. Listening. When they crept back to their base camp, people gathered around, curious to hear what they had to say about this land flowing with milk and honey.
Numbers 13 and 14 tell the rest of the story. The majority of the spies, ten of them, focused on the large fortified cities they saw. They told of “a land that devours its inhabitants” and how they felt “like grasshoppers” because of the people of “great height” (13:32-33). Their report stirred up an uprising. Fear gripped the people. They cried. They complained. They schemed to find a leader to take them back to the land of slavery (14:4).
Caleb and his friend, Joshua, brought back a different point of view. They spoke of this “exceedingly good land” (14:7) with confidence that the Lord would be with them and bring them into it. “Do not fear,” they begged the people (14:9). But the voice of the minority remained unheeded, and the people wandered in the wilderness forty long years.
It matters who we follow.
This story also brings to light the significance of attitude. All twelve spies witnessed the same thing, but their perspectives could not have been more opposite.
Sometimes, we feel overwhelmed and defeated by giant circumstances and walled cities of insurmountable odds. We can only see the negative and convince ourselves that we cannot move forward.
Yet, the extraordinary God of the universe promises to help in time of need. He walks before us all the way and graciously gives us peace. Putting our fears in perspective and following Him may appear a little different and position us on the minority side of the room, but I want to stand firm in His grace. Don’t you?
*Beth Moore, Whispers of Hope: 10 Weeks of Devotional Prayer, (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2013), 5.