Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” Numbers 13:30
You’ve probably seen the drawing of the duck and the rabbit. It’s a single image that, viewed from one perspective, looks like a duck, but viewed from another perspective, looks like a rabbit. Another example is the drawing of a single figure that, from one angle looks like a haggard old woman and from a different angle looks like a beautiful young woman. How one sees the images is all a matter of perspective.
When Moses sent twelve men into Canaan to do reconnaissance—to learn about the land and its inhabitants—the men returned with different perspectives. Ten of the men told Moses the land was unconquerable; there were giants in the land and their cities were impregnable. But two men—Joshua and Caleb—had a different perspective. They believed God would give them victory and give them the land. Their perspective was this: We can trust God and His promises in spite of the circumstances.
We can trust Him the same way if our perspective is biblical: God keeps His promises to His people.
As long as we continue to trust in our own abilities and activities we shall avail nothing. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Numbers 13:17-14:45 – Skip Heitzig
Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. Psalm 119:133
At the BBC in London, Paul Arnold’s first broadcasting job was making “walking sounds” in radio dramas. While actors read from scripts during a walking scene, Paul as stage manager made corresponding sounds with his feet—careful to match his pace to the actor’s voice and spoken lines. The key challenge, he explained, was yielding to the actor in the story, “so the two of us were working together.”
A divine version of such cooperation was sought by the author of Psalm 119, which emphasizes living by the precepts of God’s Word. As Psalm 119:1 says, “Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord.” Led this way by God and following His instructions, we can remain pure (v. 9), overcome scorn (v. 22), and escape greed (v. 36). He will enable us to resist sin (v. 61), find godly friends (v. 63), and live in joy (v. 111).
Theologian Charles Bridges commented on verse 133: “When I take therefore a step into the world, let me ask—Is it ordered in God’s word, which exhibits Christ as my perfect example?”
Walking this way, we show the world Jesus. May He help us walk so closely with Him that people glimpse in us our Leader, Friend, and Savior!
Reflect & Pray
How closely do you walk with God? Finding your answer in Psalm 119, identify one key step you can make to follow God more closely. What benefit can you gain?
Dear God, order my steps in the wisdom found in Scripture today, helping me to walk like You.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
No one enjoys heartache. Yet God uses pain to mold His children. Although times of happiness are wonderful, times of suffering tend to produce more growth.
Brokenness can highlight parts of us that try to act independently of God. If we have unsurrendered areas of our life, they may hinder our Father’s purposes for us. But in His skillful and loving way, our Father uses our circumstances and discomfort to reveal how dependent on Him we truly are.
The apostle Paul experienced this. After being saved on the road to Damascus, he still needed spiritual growth in order to be most effective for Christ. Therefore, God allowed some type of affliction, which the apostle termed a “thorn.” Three different times, he pleaded with the Lord for its removal, but the thorn remained. Remarkably, Paul’s response was gratitude. Even more, he wrote, “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
Like Paul, we can dislike suffering and yet still be confident that God is growing us. His purpose is that we walk in intimate oneness with Him and serve effectively according to His purpose and will. To accomplish this, He has to break us of our resistance and self-reliance.
If you truly desire to live for Jesus, trust Him enough to pray, “Lord, more than anything else in life, I want to live for You. Please challenge any areas that are not in complete submission to Your will.”
“I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.” (Genesis 17:1)
Abraham had been “walking” in the land of Canaan nearly 25 years when God gave this command to him. He had experienced the shameful rebuke in Egypt by Pharaoh and a marvelous victory against Chedorlaomer—and then had demonstrated both humility and obedience before Melchizedek.
God had been explicit in His promises to Abraham, but the promised heir had not yet come. Now, in spite of the awful lapse of faith with Hagar and the nagging burden of Ishmael, God insisted that Abraham “walk before” Him and “be perfect.”
The Hebrew language here is unusual. The word translated “before me” is panyim, basically meaning “the face.” This is the term used in the first commandment where we are told to “have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).
In Genesis 17:1, the phrase could well be translated “walk, looking at my face.” The first commandment could also be translated “don’t let any other god get between your face and my face.”
The implication is obvious. God expects us to live in such a way that His “face” (person, character, presence) is always “before” us so that our “walk” (lifestyle, behavior) is “perfect” (complete, whole, healthy), with nothing inhibiting the relationship “of him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13).
“Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations” (Genesis 6:9). After warning Israel of the dangers of the pagan nations surrounding them, Moses still insisted that they should “be perfect with the LORD thy God” (Deuteronomy 18:13). No matter what the circumstances may be, if we are looking at God’s “face,” we will walk perfectly. HMM III
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him…. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
—1 John 2:15, 17
Any appeal to the public in the name of Christ that rises no higher than an invitation to tranquillity must be recognized as mere humanism with a few words of Jesus thrown in to make it appear Christian….
Christ calls men to carry a cross; we call them to have fun in His name. He calls them to forsake the world; we assure them that if they but accept Jesus the world is their oyster. He calls them to suffer; we call them to enjoy all the bourgeois comforts modern civilization affords. He calls them to self-abnegation and death; we call them to spread themselves like green bay trees or perchance even to become stars in a pitiful fifth-rate religious zodiac. He calls them to holiness; we call them to a cheap and tawdry happiness that would have been rejected with scorn by the least of the Stoic philosophers….
We can afford to suffer now; we’ll have a long eternity to enjoy ourselves. And our enjoyment will be valid and pure, for it will come in the right way at the right time. BAM141-142
Lord, may I be faithful to call people to that which is important to You, at whatever cost. Amen.
They took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.—Acts 4:13.
O hearts of love! O souls that turn
Like sunflowers to the pure and best!
To you the truth is manifest,
For they the mind of Christ discern
Who lean like John upon His breast.
John G. Whittier.
Wilt thou with St. John rest on the loving heart of our Lord Jesus Christ, thou must be transformed into the beauteous image of our Lord by a constant, earnest contemplation thereof, considering His holy meekness and humility, the deep, fiery love that He bore to His friends and His foes, and His mighty, obedient resignation which He manifested in all the paths wherein His Father called Him to tread. And now ye must gaze much more closely and deeply into the glorious image of our Lord Jesus Christ than I can show you with my outward teaching, and maintain a continual, earnest effort and aspiration after it. Then look attentively at thyself, how unlike thou art to this image, and behold thy own littleness. Here will thy Lord let thee rest on, Him. In the glorious likeness of Christ thou wilt be made rich, and find all the solace and sweetness in the world.
“For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.” Isa. 54:10
One of the most delightful qualities of divine love is its abiding character. The pillars of the earth may be moved out of their places, but the kindness and the covenant of our merciful Jehovah never depart from His people. How happy my soul feels in a firm belief of this inspired declaration! The year is almost over, and the years of my life are growing few, but time does not change my Lord. New lamps are taking the place of the old, perpetual change is on all things; but our Lord is the same. Force overturns the hills, but no conceivable power can affect the eternal God. Nothing in the past, the present, or the future can cause Jehovah to be unkind to me.
My soul, rest in the eternal kindness of the Lord, who treats thee as one near of kin. Remember also the everlasting covenant. God is ever mindful of it -see that thou art mindful of it too. In Christ Jesus the glorious God has pledged Himself to thee to be thy God, and to hold thee as one of His people. Kindness and covenant — dwell on these words as sure and lasting things which eternity itself shall not take from thee.