That Different Spirit by MTB

Various from Numbers 13 & 14

The LORD said to Moses, “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which
I am giving to the Israelites. So at the LORD’s command Moses sent them out.
Among those sent out was Caleb son of Jephunneh.

When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “See what the land is like
and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. What
kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live
in? Are they unwalled or fortified? How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there
trees on it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.”

So they went up and explored the land. At the end of forty days they returned
from exploring the land. They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole
Israelite community. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly
and showed them the fruit of the land. They gave Moses this account: “We went
into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! But the
people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large.”

Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and
take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people;
they are stronger than we are.” They spread among the Israelites a bad report.
They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people
we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there. We seemed like
grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

That night all the people of the community raised their voices and wept aloud.
All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly
said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert! Why is the LORD
bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children
will be taken as plunder. They said to each other, “We should choose a leader
and go back to Egypt.”

Then Moses and Aaron fell facedown in front of the whole Israelite assembly
gathered there. Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were
among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire
Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly
good. If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land
flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the
LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow
them up. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of

But the whole assembly talked about stoning them.

Then the glory of the LORD appeared at the Tent of Meeting to all the Israelites.
The LORD said to Moses, “In spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed
among them, how long will these people treat me with contempt and refuse to
believe in me? I will strike them down and destroy them.”

Moses said to the LORD, “But if you do this, the Egyptians will hear about it! If
you put these people to death, the nations who have heard this report about you
will say, ‘The LORD was not able to bring these people into the land he promised
them on oath; so he slaughtered them in the desert.'”

“Lord, let your strength be displayed, just as you yourself have declared: In
accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you
have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.”

The LORD replied, “Very well. I have forgiven them. Nevertheless, as surely as I
live and as surely as the glory of the LORD fills the whole earth, not one of the
men who saw my glory and the miraculous signs I performed in Egypt and in
the desert but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times – not one of them will
ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers.”

But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me
wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants
will inherit it.

I just love these OT stories and the one above is one of my all time favorites.
It makes me think – do I have that “different spirit”? Am I willing to follow?
“Wholeheartedly”? Am I willing to leave myself out there, totally and completely
immersed and submitted to God and his leading through life?

It’s probably safe to say that none of us been asked to explore any new territory
lately but in some respects our journey is not that much unlike what Joshua
and Caleb and the rest of the spies were being asked to do. We make plans, we
take steps to get the information we need in order to be “successful” but even
our best laid plans can seem totally inadequate and hopeless when we face the
overwhelming obstacles, surprises and difficulties of life. Even when we seem on
top of things, the “what ifs” persist.

Like the Israelites, I find myself doubting often. I have a tendency to exclude
God from some of my thoughts, decisions and plans and when I do so, I’m not
at all effective and I’m asking for frustration, aggravation and ultimately failure,
particularly when things seem especially discouraging.

But that’s not how Caleb operated. He knew that God’s word was good and He’d
come through with His promises. He never doubted. He didn’t worry about what
the “experts” had to say. He had, as it says in Numbers 14:24, a “different spirit”
and he obeyed “wholeheartedly”. Do we dare to demonstrate that “different
spirit”? Wholeheartedly? With conviction?

My prayer is that each one of us finds ourselves talking to God constantly, asking
Him, “Lord, let your strength be displayed, just as you yourself have declared”,
being totally open to what He wants for our us, our families and ultimately His
Kingdom. And that we do it “wholeheartedly”, with that same “different spirit”
that Caleb demonstrated.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  MTB is a husband, father and grandfather and life-long follower of Christ.  He serves as a Elder at a Reformed Church in Hudsonville, MI and has served on a variety of ministry teams.  He is an avid bowhunter and enjoys spending time with his wife and grandkids.


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