But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land
where into he went; and his seed shall possess it.
– Numbers 14:24
I get plenty of spam from folks wanting to share the secret of success. They promote another strategy, another diet, another mindset.
I guess there’s merit in a lot of what they’re selling. But there’s another “another” we ought to consider, one God Himself said brought special blessing to Caleb: another spirit.
There’s a common spirit within people which could be called the status quo spirit. That’s a frame of mind which settles, stays with what’s familiar, and never considers the possibility of conquering new territory.
That common spirit doesn’t dream, and it sure doesn’t dare. Instead, it craves the comfort of the predictable, so there it sits, safe and calm.
Then there’s another spirit, which says There’s Got to be More! Daring to trust the nature and promises of God, that spirit enters the arena while others recline on their sofas.
Caleb had another spirit, making him a hero and a beneficiary of what the other Israelites lost. That’s a story the complacent should pay attention to.
Take It Or Leave It
When they were brought to Canaan’s borders, God directed Moses to send out twelve spies, one representing each tribe, to assess the land and its people. Note the wording here:
Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them. (Numbers 13:2)
Catch that phrase “ … the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel.” The words are intentional.
God didn’t say “Scope out the land, see how dangerous it is, and based on that I’ll decide whether or not you should take it.” Rather, He said “Take it. I’ve already given it to you. Your job is to assess it, then strategize how to possess what I’ve already promised.”
As usual, God was allowing His people to participate in His work, with guaranteed results.
Only they forgot the guarantee, and, by extension, the very nature of the One who’d brought them so far.
The chosen twelve entered the land and all saw the same picture: it was fertile, produced incredible fruit, and was inhabited by formidable, even gigantic citizens who clearly wouldn’t surrender their territory without a fight. (Numbers 13: 21-25)
But seeing the same picture and emphasizing the same details are two very different things.
Half Empty, Half Faith-Full
So ten of the spies saw the glass half empty; Joshua and Caleb saw it brimming with potential. The ten emphasized the adversity – fearsome inhabitants; hard battles to fight – while the faithful two emphasized the potential, describing the beauty of what was theirs to possess, and recalling the past faithfulness of their God who’d called them to forge ahead. (Numbers 13: 28-33; and 14: 7-9)
The rest of the people freaked. In fact, amazingly, they clamored for a new leader to take them back to Egypt, in lieu of following their God appointed leader who wanted to take them forward. (Numbers 14: 1-4)
How much, and how little, has changed.
For all our technological progress we’re still bound by the tendency to cling to the familiar and cower before the new and the good, obsessing over giants while ignoring potential, and insulting the Father whose history with us is nothing if not chock full of faithfulness.
So today untold numbers of believers sit on the sidelines of the abundance God has for them, refusing to take their eyes off the giants and refocus on the promises.
Even now, so many innovative ministries could be established, so many relationships might be healed, so many great things accomplished, if only we considered the gifts and potential He’s placed within us, both of which are so often discarded or dismissed as old and unfeasible dreams we dropped because too many obstacles discouraged us.
I Didn’t Hear the Fat Lady Sing
If the opera isn’t over until the fat lady sings, and if she hasn’t sung, then I’d best not leave the theater.
Instead, when reading about another spirit, I’ll ask myself four
- What’s still on my heart to try, and to achieve?
- What sort potential has been placed in me to achieve it?
- What are the obstacles, and why have I let them keep me from
- Is God the God of my future, or only the God of my past?
I get as stressed out and discouraged about the state of things as anyone I know, but blast it all, I do want another spirit.
I’m tired of being tired, turning into some lame old guy mourning what’s wrong, worrying about what’s coming, and neglecting what’s still there
So today I’ll dare to believe that “hard” doesn’t mean “impossible,” and “scary” doesn’t mean “Don’t!”
I hope you join me. Who knows what new spirit might develop in all of us?
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