My Servant Caleb
It was the best of times for Israel. Great opportunities lay before them. Yet, in their minds it was the worst of times. They looked back at the easier times of Egypt and forgot the hardships that were there. They saw before them huge problems. Their hearts echoed with fear. When Israel saw more reasons why they COULDN'T take the land of Canaan than reasons why they COULD, they were set for the displeasure of God. God wanted them to see the opportunities. They saw only the obstacles. But CALEB:
I. HAD A DIFFERENT SPIRIT. Num.14:24
A. A God-trusting Spirit.
1. His God was BIG.
2. All enemies of God and His people were seen as small.
3. Psa.40:4 tells of this spirit.
B. An Optimistic Spirit.
1. He saw tremendous opportunity before him. Num.13:30
2. He saw potential where others saw problems.
II. FOLLOWED GOD FULLY.
A. His heart was with God.
1. God is always present and part of the picture.
2. Compare to 2 Chron.16:9
3. Contrast with Amaziah. 2 Chron.25:2
B. His Actions Were Not Heartless Ritual.
1. His mind-picture of God grew with time and worship.
2. Rituals can sometimes be more habit than heart. Caleb did not let his moments with God become empty ritual.
3. The hearts of others around him did not determine his own.
C. His Actions Were Not Mere Conformity To Peers.
1. His faith was truly and totally his own.
2. Did not depend on others, circumstances, or friends his own age.
3. Did not look around for group approval.
III. HAD THE SPIRIT OF GOD. This Spirit Lived In New Testament Christians. 2 Tim.1:7
A. Not a spirit of fear.
B. A spirit of POWER.
1. More than conquerors. Rom.8:31ff
2. Believed and utilized "strength" and "power of His might". Eph.6:10
C. Spirit of Love.
1. Love for God.
2. Love for God's people.
3. Love for the lost souls of the world.
D. Spirit of a Sound Mind.
1. Not shaken by opposition.
2. Not unstable. Jas.1:6-8
IV. CHALLENGES US.
A. We Must See Opportunity Over Obstacles.
1. Opportunity to grow by testing.
2. Opportunity to prove that our faith is real and strong.
B. Must See Potential Over Problems.
1. We have great potential here. Do you see it?
2. Problems only changes our angles of approach, not the direction we take (retreating instead of pressing forward).
C. Must Be Realistic Enough To Know What Challenges Stand Before Us.
1. Do not merely pretend that there are no problems.
2. But, it is realistic to believe that God is FOR us. Rom.8:31
D. Must Believe In The Power That Works In Us.
1. Power is a common theme in Christianity. Eph.3:20; Rom.1:16
2. We have "tasted the power". Heb.6:4-6
3. We must believe that we have great power in God. Phil.4:13
Has the spirit of Caleb and others died? Does the spirit of the ten spies live in us? If so, can we develop the faith that brings God back into a powerful position? Can we have the spirit of faith that moved mountainous obstacles and reduced them to nothing? We can. We must. With God as our strength, we WILL. Let us press forward to the great promised land before us. Opportunity is before us. Will you seize upon the opportunity?
by Terry W. Benton
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