Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.”
In Numbers 13, God tells Moses to send in spies to examine the Promised Land before the Israelites go in and take possession of it. Twelve spies are sent in. One report of facts comes back, but two different interpretations of the facts are put forward.
In verse 30, Caleb gives one interpretation of the facts. He considers everything he has seen — a land flowing with milk and honey, fortified cities, strong people, and giants living in the land — and speaks from the position of faith. His interpretation of the facts is: We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it. He saw the same giants and strong people and fortified cities as the other ten spies. He also saw God wipe out the Egyptian army in the sea. He looked at his God and his problem and his God won out. No contest.
In verse 31, the other spies give their account. They saw the same things that Caleb saw and spoke from a position of fear. Their understanding of the facts is: We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us. These individuals had seen God wipe out the Egyptians in the sea; had seen all the firstborn in Egypt die in a single night; had seen God to mighty things on their behalf. What they had seen was not enough to inspire them to trust God. They looked at their problem and their God and their problem won out.
It has been said that the man who says he will succeed and the man who says he will not succeed are both right. The same held true for Caleb and the other spies. What Caleb said was true: we will surely overcome it. What the other spies said was also true: they are too strong for us. Forty years after this event, Caleb will be among those who enter into the land he said they would surely overcome and they not only overcome it, but Caleb goes in and puts a beat down on giants in the hill country at the tender age of 80. Caleb is right. He will overcome. His faith carries his day.
The other spies had been defeated by the people in the Promised Land before they had even lifted a finger to fight. Their fear carried the day.
These are two of the most powerful responses I can have to any situation: faith and fear. I can look at what is before me and remember Who is before me and trust in Him and His love for me and His power. Or I can look at what is before me and fear it. I confess, there are things in my life right now that inspire fear. Despite that fear, my God is in those things and He has never done anything but good for me.
Let me respond to the frightening thing before me in faith; with trust in the God Who loves me and wants to conform me to the image of His Son.
Father, thank You for Your love and that You are already in every moment of my future from now until my last breath this side of Heaven and beyond. Thank You for having brought me safe thus far — as the hymn goes — and that You have promised to see me Home. Please increase me feeble trust until I can say with Caleb that I will surely overcome the giants and fortified cities and strong men of war in my spiritual life.