We don’t like to believe that we could ever miss out on what God has for us. Nor are we comfortable with the thought that a whole church – or even a movement – could miss out on God’s purpose. But it does happen. It happened to most of the churches mentioned in chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation. And of course it happened to a whole generation of Israelites.
A whole generation of Israelites except two, that is. When Israel had the opportunity of entering the Promised Land, the people decided to believe the fearful report brought by ten of the twelve spies. Only two, Joshua and Caleb, advocated entering the land, believing that God would lead His people to victory.
Whilst the will of the majority prevailed, Joshua and Caleb lived to fight in another generation.
At eighty-five years of age, Caleb is commended for the attitude that he had shown forty-five years earlier. With the same faith filled outlook he goes on to gain his inheritance.
What was a negative defining moment for the whole nation was still a positive one for Caleb, and of course, Joshua.
What made the difference?
Firstly, Caleb was a man of a different spirit (Numbers 14.24). He had a different attitude, a different outlook to the ten spies who filled the people with fear. Caleb stood out from the crowd. And he was willing to stand up for what he believed – even though a million people were against him.
Secondly, Caleb was a man of defining conviction (Joshua 14.7). What do I mean by that? What he believed determined his take on what he saw. Truth be told, we all have defining convictions! Our beliefs determine how we see. Caleb and Joshua and the ten other spies all saw the same thing, but Caleb and Joshua saw those things differently. They saw through the filter of faith. The ten other spies saw through the filter of unbelief. Beliefs shape vision.
Finally, Caleb was a man of deep commitment. Moses said that Caleb followed the Lord wholeheartedly (Numbers 14.24; Joshua 14.8). Caleb was not hedging his bets. His service was not half-hearted. He approached the task of surveying Canaan with a wholehearted commitment to the Lord.
That generation of Israelites all missed out on the Promised Land, but not Joshua and Caleb. They kept the faith and received their inheritance.
However people are reacting around you, make sure you keep the faith. You can still make your defining moment one of faith. Even if a million people are against you. Caleb did.