"Then the men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are." (Numbers 13:31, ESV)
If there is one thing we can learn from Numbers thirteen, it is "Don't listen to doubters." Say this with me, "I refuse to listen to doubters." You have to make up your mind about not listening to doubters. It was the doubt and unbelief of the ten spies that stopped Israel from going in to possess what God had promised.
Their biggest problem was seeing their problems as bigger than their God. The people are strong, the cities fortified, and giants are there. When you forget what God has done before, you will be more inclined to doubt and not see God in your future.
The other major issue the ten spies had was how they saw themselves. They saw themselves as weak compared to the people of the land. They saw themselves as grasshoppers compared to the giants in the land. They believed the lie that God had brought them to the land to kill them. Whenever we believe a lie, not the truth, we surrender our future to the destroyer.
We must see ourselves as God sees us. And we must see God as He really is. As Bill Johnson says, "I can't afford to have a thought in my head that God doesn't have in His head." Therefore...Do not listen to doubters! They will rob your future!
"But 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, ESV)
God says of Caleb in Numbers 14:24, "that he has a different spirit and follows me fully." What does it take to have God say that of us? What did Caleb have that ten of the other spies did not have?
He had a spirit of faith. Against all odds, he chose to believe God and trust Him with his life. This faith came from remembering what God did to Egypt, the most powerful empire. To have a different spirit requires that we have confidence in an all-powerful God.
Not only did Caleb have a spirit of faith, but he confessed and openly declared what he believed. Listen to these words, "Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it." His faith called him to take action. James said it this way, "Faith without works is dead." Caleb did not have dead faith. He was ready to act.
Ten spies could not see God in their future because of unbelief. Faith is being able to see God in your future! Caleb could see God in his future. He could see his divine destiny and the destiny of Israel colliding in his future. Only God could bring this to pass! He knew that and trusted God. What would you have to change to be of a different spirit like Caleb?
"Jesus was astonished... and said to those who were following him, "He has greater faith than anyone I've encountered in Israel!" (Matthew 8:10, TPT)
Like the Canaanite woman who came to Jesus, this Centurion is also an outsider, a gentile, and an enemy of Israel. Many people fit this description today, and they let it disqualify them from receiving from God. Not this man; he was bold!
Jesus was astonished at this gentile. And He marveled at him. He was astonished that this man seemed to transcend human possibilities. The man possessed incredible faith! What made his faith so great?
First, we see the man comes to Jesus and calls Him Lord. Hebrew 11:6 declares, "Those who come to Him must know that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Jesus saw this quality in the Centurion.
Secondly, the man comes boldly to Jesus because he understands authority. This amazes Jesus because the people He was sent to should have had this understanding of authority but did not. Now a gentile, an outsider, recognizes the authority that Jesus carries and makes his request to Him. "Speak the word, and my servant will be healed. You do not have to come to my house. Just speak the word."
Third, the man understood who he was. The 'lesser' asking the 'greater' to heal his servant. This is covenant language. The very covenant that Jesus had come to earth to establish. Lord, may we become people of great faith!
March 25, 2023: Great Faith!
"Then Jesus answered her, "O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire." And her daughter was healed instantly." (Matthew 15:28, ESV)
A Canaanite woman comes to Jesus and begs Him to come and heal her demon-possessed daughter. The Canaanites were gentiles and long-time enemies of God and God's people. If anyone was unworthy of receiving from Jesus, it could be said that she was. But Jesus is not moved by one's past, one's race, or one's works. He is moved by faith. And this woman's faith moves Him!
Jesus tries to deflect this woman's appeal to Him. Jesus ignores her. Jesus says that He is not sent to her people. Jesus finally appears to insult her by saying, "I can't give the children's food to the dogs."
The woman pushes back with her faith! She cries out for mercy! She calls Him Lord three times! She identifies Him: Son of David! And she releases her faith: "Even dogs get the crumbs of Master's table." With great faith, a "little bit" of God goes a long way! Jesus replies: "O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire." And her daughter was healed instantly." (Matthew 15:28, ESV)
Great faith comes from trusting in a Great God! Great faith comes by not stopping when the answer seems delayed. Great faith comes when you know who you are talking to!
"Then they said to him, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?" Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent." (John 6:28–29, ESV)
So much of how Christians relate to God is through doing. We are, by a religious nature, works-oriented. We seem to be constantly looking for something else to do for God. We think that by our doing, we will win the favor of God or move the hand of God on our behalf. What can I do to make Him proud of me? What can I do to get Him to respond to me? What can I do that would please Him?
Jesus answers our question of 'What must I do?' with a straightforward answer: "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent." Our work is to believe in Jesus! What can I do to make Him proud of me? Believe! What can I do to get Him to respond to me? Believe! What can I do that would please Him today? Believe!
The writer of Hebrews also makes the answer clear: "...without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." (Hebrews 11:6, ESV) Those in Hebrews 11 are people who did things for God. But the big things they did for God were done through faith. Yes, they did work, but the greater work was to believe!
"Enoch walked with God ... Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him." (Genesis 5:22–24, ESV)
Enoch was the first man since Adam, said to have walked with God. Perhaps he learned from Adam how to walk with God. And Enoch became more and more hungry to walk with Him.
To walk with someone is to be in close fellowship with them. It was said of many Old Testament kings that they walked before God, but only Enoch and Noah walked with God. What a testimony! The prophet Amos said, "Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?" (Amos 3:3) Enoch agreed with God on the direction that God was leading him. Therefore, Enoch lived in close fellowship with God. When Enoch first appears in scripture, it is said that he walked with God. And at the close of his life, it is written he walked with God.
To walk also implies movement. Enoch stayed in step with God, and the movement of God created a God movement in Enoch's life. Hebrews 11:5-6 says that Enoch, by faith, was taken up by God and did not taste death. Before he was taken, he was commended as having a testimony that pleased God. Enoch lived in such a way as to please God! God took pleasure in Enoch. Enoch's expression of faith in God resulted in God experiencing the presence of Enoch. Faith does this!
Enoch took pleasure in God and got so far out there with God that he could not get back! What a testimony!
"And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden." (Genesis 3:8, ESV)
We often hear people speak of Adam and Eve walking with God in the cool of the day. It all sounds lovely and pleasant, something to be desired. Yet most fail to remember that while God is walking in the day's cool breeze, Adam and Eve are hiding from Him.
They had eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Full of guilt and shame, they now hid. Strange how details are often remembered in traumatic events. They heard the sound of God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. What was the sound of God walking? Was it loud? Was it soft? Was it slow and gentle?
Or was it just the awareness that God was getting closer to them? At the time of day when they should have been most enjoying the weather, the stroll, and God's presence, they were hiding. For the first time, they were hiding from God. That will make an impact on you. It did for Adam and Eve...for the rest of their lives, they remembered that day.
They were hiding from the presence of the Lord. The good news is, in Christ, we no longer have to hide!
"On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen; all the day and all the night they shall never be silent. You who put the Lord in remembrance, take no rest, and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth." (Isaiah 62:6–7, ESV)
Watchmen on the walls are intercessors, prayer warriors, and those who look after others in the place of prayer. Watchmen stand guard over the city—night and day. They sound the alarm of approaching danger. They keep watch over all enemy activity around the city.
In Isaiah 62, the watchmen are placed by God to guard the city. Isaiah says that they will never be silent! Their uniqueness in Isaiah is they will continually remind the Lord of His promises and word to Jerusalem.
Does God need reminding? No, but this passage reminds us that he will never forget what He has promised. The days may become incredibly dark, but God has appointed watchmen to remind Him of what He has spoken. Will He forget? Absolutely not! But these 'Reminders' cry out night and day, saying, "Remember what you said about Jerusalem!"
This passage should remind us of the high calling of the place of prayer in our lives. John Wesley once said, "God does nothing but through prayer." This passage is calling believers to remind God of what He has spoken over Jerusalem, and it is reminding us to remind God of what He has said over us! Never underestimate the power of prayer to shape nations and lives...according to His Word!
"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! "May they be secure who love you!" (Psalm 122:6, ESV)
Jerusalem is God's city. Isn't it fascinating that such a little nation and such an insignificant city could be the center of so much attention today? Jerusalem means the ‘city of peace’. Yet it seems that every country in the world wants to destroy it. I believe this is because God has such big plans for it. After all, scripture is quite clear that Messiah will return one day and rule from Jerusalem. If I were the devil, I would want to destroy it too, so that Messiah cannot reign from there when He comes.
Because of such threats of violence through the ages up to today against Jerusalem, King David encourages us to, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem." As believers, we have been joined to Jesus and grafted into God's chosen people. Therefore it should be upon our hearts to pray for Jerusalem. The city where Christ will return and reign over the nations of the earth.
The promise that comes with our prayers for Jerusalem is that we would be at rest. As we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, the peace we pray for is simultaneously directed by God to us. If you desire to live in peace, make it a point to pray for peace for the city of Jerusalem and the nation of Israel
"Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This "letter" is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts." (2 Corinthians 3:3, NLT)
What a compliment Paul gives to the church in Corinth, "You are a letter showing..." The word 'showing' comes from a word often translated as 'manifest,' to make visible. What is being made visible is the inward work of the Spirit in the human heart that is clearly visible outwardly. It is the life-giving activity of the Spirit of God living in the hearts of the Corinthian church.
This change did not occur because of some forced morality or behavior modification. It came from the life-giving preaching of Jesus Christ through Paul's ministry among them. This work done within the heart transforms the person so radically that it is visible for all to see.
The goal of the Gospel is to make dead men live! This change is so drastic everyone can see it. All who inquire as to what happened hear the Gospel themselves. Paul's boast is that the Gospel, the message of Christ, is written on the human heart by the Holy Spirit. We must ask ourselves: What are men reading when they look at our lives? What are we manifesting or showing forth having encountered Christ personally? What message is your life sending as people around you read it?
Bringing Freedom and Life to People and Glory to God!
© 2015 Freedom Christian Center, Inc., all rights reserved.