Derek Smith, Lead Pastor LHBC
At the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land. And they came to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the people of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh. They brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. And they told him, “We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the Negeb. The Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the hill country. And the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and along the Jordan.”
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.” 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.” So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.”
The Bible has a lot to say about winning and losing. All throughout Scripture we have competitive examples of what it means to follow the Lord. The Christian life is referred to as a race (Heb. 12:1). Paul referred to His Christian experience as a boxing match, saying He didn’t want to box aimlessly but so as to win the match (1 Cor. 9:27). We have many military references in the Bible. Children of God are referred to as soldiers in God’s army fighting against a spiritual enemy (2 Tim. 2:3-4). We are told to fight the good fight of faith and rest in the victory Christ has already won for us on the cross and through His resurrection. Even in salvation, think about it, we have winners and losers. Very simply those who trust in Jesus receive eternal life, they are winners forever because of what Christ did. Those who deny Christ are losers, they are separated from God forever and become a part of what the Bible calls the “second death” (Rev. 21:8). What a tragic and devastating loss!
God’s estimation of winners and losers is much different, by the way, than our estimation. Jesus said the last shall be first and the first last (Matt 19:30). He said he who wishes to save his life will lose it but he who loses his life for Christ’s sake will find it (Luke 9:24). Winners in the world’s eyes lose, and losers in the world’s eyes win. Winning and losing are not measured by the stuff of this world, they are measured by sacrifice, service, a Christ-like testimony, and by the legacy of faith we leave behind in the lives of others.
In numbers 13 and 14 we have Moses and the people of God camped right outside the Promised Land. This is the land which hundreds of years before God told Abraham it was His. The whole purpose of bringing the people out of Egypt was to bring them into this land. God tells Moses to send spies into the land, one of the key leaders from each tribe. Moses obeys God and sends the spies, and they spy out the land. They saw the land flowing with milk and honey. They saw grapes so luscious that just one cluster had to be carried on a pole by two men. They saw the glory of God’s inheritance, but 10 of them bring back a negative report. They come back and tell the entire congregation that what God has told them to do can’t be done. The people are too strong. The land too heavily fortified. Lots of strong enemies were there, and they didn’t have enough power to defeat them. They had a loser’s mentality. They were riddled with doubt; they talked more about what God couldn’t do and wouldn’t do instead of what He can and will do. They were riddled with fear; they were intimidated by the circumstances and the enemy they faced instead of expressing faith in the Lord. They were disabled by worry; they dwelt on all the “what if’s” until they became self-fulfilling prophecies. Finally, they were baffled by the work; they didn’t consider the reward worth all the time, labor, and sacrifice needed to accomplish it.
Today, don’t be a loser! Conquer your fear and worry with faith in the Lord Jesus! Believe God for amazing things, then go attempt them for His glory! Count the cost and make the sacrifices necessary to see other people saved and the Kingdom of God grow! Through the victory Christ won on the cross we can be conquerors, so today go win for Jesus!
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Father God, today I give You all my fear, doubt, and worry. Lord help me to live by faith and not by sight today. You are my all-powerful Savior and I know nothing compares to You. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”