When was the last time that you were sitting through a sermon in church or heard a message online, a song on the radio, or some form of truth hit your ears, and you absolutely knew beyond a shadow of doubt that it was intended for you to hear? Was there ever a time when truth felt as if it were tailor made for you? Whenever this happens to me, it’s somewhat of a life-changing moment that I never forget. I can think back to the times when I felt like the pastor and God had somehow been talking behind my back, because how else could he know what to preach on that day and how it would so specifically speak to my situation. This weekend in church was exactly this for me.
I’d like to direct your attention to two different passages of Scripture today. First, let’s look at Numbers 13. Go ahead and turn there in your Bible. This chapter in Scripture tells the story of the twelve spies who went to scope out the Promised Land that God had already guaranteed would be the inheritance for His people, the nation of Israel. Despite His guarantee, ten of the twelve spies returned with nothing but doubt and fear. All they saw was the obstacle that presented itself, the difficulty that they’d need to overcome. They forgot to default to faith – faith in a God who keeps His promises, faith in a God who already detailed the battle plan for them, faith in a God whose power would see them through to victory. They forgot.
Only two of the twelve spies saw the possibility. Only two dared to hope. Only two chose faith over fear. Only two believed in the God who had already spoken on the matter. Only two. Think about those two different numbers: ten spies who doubted and feared and two spies who had faith and courage. All twelve had the same opportunity to walk by faith. All twelve were given the choice to boast in their great God who knows no limits. All twelve. But only two…only two.
Now, flip over to Joshua 2:1 with me. Go ahead, I’ll wait for you. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this. We’ve fast-forwarded to the point of battle, where Israel is finally going to take possession of the land that God had promised them years and years prior. This is the moment. Notice the first few words of Joshua 2:1:
“And Joshua the son of Nun sent TWO MEN (emphasis mine)…”
Joshua was one of the two men from Numbers 13 who believed when ten of his fellow men doubted. Now, Joshua was in charge and commanding the nation of Israel, and instead of sending another twelve men as Moses had sent before, only two had the opportunity to go. Only two this time were given the opportunity to go, see, and be used by God to accomplish a purpose that we still talk about today. Only two.
This got me thinking about a few things:
Fear, faith, and consequence.
Both fear and faith bring consequences into our lives. Both fear and faith produce results or fruit in our lives. Both do. One leads to doubt and a disabled faith. The other leads to freedom and victory. Can you guess which one we’re called to? Fear is the enemy of faith. Fear cripples our faith. Fear causes us to see our problems as bigger than our God. Fear destroys. Fear robs us of opportunities to see the greatness of God and for us to come alongside of Him in His work in this world. Think about the missed opportunity for the Israelites in Joshua 2. There could have been another twelve men given the opportunity to go into Jericho, but only two were sent. I’m sure there was very good reason why only two were sent instead of twelve, but it caused me to wrestle with this critical question, a question that I will share with you:
What blessings have I forfeited in my life because I’ve chosen fear over faith?
Does this resonate with you as it has for me? Because this has been somewhat life altering for me. Do you live in fear instead of embracing faith? And what are you missing out on because of it? Fear, faith, and consequence. I don’t know about you, but I want to reap the consequences of a faith-filled life. I want to be one of the two in Numbers 13. I want to believe that God is who He says He is. I want to believe that God can do whatever He says He can do. I want to choose faith no matter the obstacle, no matter the mountain I need to climb. You?