If I had been a boy, my parents would have named me Caleb. My older brother’s name is Joshua; they would have named us Joshua & Caleb, like in the Bible. I was a girl so, instead of naming me Caleb,I was named Jennifer after my great-grandmother.
Joshua and Caleb were 2 of the of the 12 spies that went out from the Israelites into the land of Canaan. They surveyed the land and found amazing things. They came back with this report:
“We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large.” (Numbers 13:27-28)
They saw that the land was good and contained good things. They also saw that the people who live there were powerful and had fortified cities. They saw the good that was in the promised land and they saw the challenges to obtaining it. How did they respond to this data?
Caleb said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” (Numbers 13:30)
Joshua agreed with Caleb, but the other 10 looked at the same data and interpreted it differently, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.”
God had promised them the land. The goal of the spy expedition was not to see if they could do it but to see what they going to enter into and maybe get an idea of how they could take it.
The people, like the 10 (well, because of the 10), felt fear and their fear caused them to believe they would not get the thing that God had promised. They didn’t know how it could be done so they came to doubt that it could be done.
Joshua and Caleb didn’t know how it could be done but they still believed that it could be done. So they said,
“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 devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”
And, for their faith and encouragement, the people talked about stoning Joshua and Caleb.
Ultimately, this generation of people, and the 10 spies they let influence them, did not get to enter the promised land while Caleb and Joshua did.
They let their fear and the fact that they couldn’t move forward without knowing the HOW hold them back.
The last few weeks I’ve been one of the 10. I don’t know how we are going to raise enough money to be cleared by our agency to move to Mongolia so I began to doubt that we would.
I’ve been challenged by this passage to believe that God will provide–even if I don’t know how–largely because I believe that God has called us to Mongolia so I have to believe he’ll provide.
I believe he will get us there.
It may not be on my timeline.
I do not know how he will do it.
But today I’m choosing to be a Caleb, to believe that it will be done, even if I don’t know how. To live in a way that my fear doesn’t drive me. Or rather, for this minute, I’m choosing to believe. And I’ll choose it again in the next minute. And when I forget and fear and fall, I’ll remind myself of truth and get up and keep going.
I know I’m not alone in is tension. Where do you see a gap between what is and what could be? Where do you need to trust God to cross the gap for you? Where do you need to be one of the 2 instead of one of the 10?