The Two Who Dared to Believe

The Two Who Dared to Believe

Daily Reading: (Numbers 14:38):

“Of the men who went to explore the land, only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived.”

How many spies did Moses send? Moses sent out twelve. How many of them failed to believe the land would be theirs? Ten of the twelve or 83.3% of the people sent to check out the inheritance God was giving them did not believe that is was theirs to receive.

 “So the men Moses had sent to explore the land, who returned and made the whole community grumble against him by spreading a bad report about it” (Numbers 14:36).

What is unique in this story is that the faith of these two had no impact on the other 10 spies, in fact the other ten convinced all of Israel to not believe in the promise of God. But just because it seemed that Caleb and Joshua had failed to influence the people- they were still going to be great influencers. God’s plan was to use Joshua and Caleb to lead the next generation into the inheritance He was giving.

Moses makes a fatal mistake, the mistake is not in sending the spies, this was what God said in Numbers 13:2, but allowing the spies to poison the minds and hearts of the people into not believing God for the good things He said He would bring about. I believe the error starts in the questions Moses asked of his spies:

When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified?How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” It was the season for the first ripe grapes” (Numbers 13:17-20).

What difference does it matter if the people are strong or weak, if the city is fortified or not? God wanted you to send the spies to see what amazing place He had promised to give you that it is exactly as He said it would be. Caleb and Joshua, unlike the others, see the promise through eyes of faith not of doubt.

The report of the land and even who inhabited it should have instilled faith in the people, if they paid attention to the Word of the Lord. Faith is what inherits and faith is what possess what God desires to give.

The people chose to not believe and it leads them to grumble. They are so close, they tasted of the grapes that were brought back from the land, they heard how amazing the land is and they fail to take a step of faith and claim their inheritance. So, Deuteronomy 28:15 will become their reality. “But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee.”

Today, people have mistaken text like this to think that maybe the bad things that have come upon them are because God is punishing them for not doing what is right. We don’t live in the Old Covenant and in Christ, Jesus is the one who qualifies us for every single blessing because He has kept all of God’s commandments. When He died for us on the cross, He not only fulfilled all of God’s commandments, Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the Law (Galatians 3:13). If the curse is gone, what our inheritance in Christ is would be all of the blessings found within the Law because of the One who kept the Law perfectly for us. Jesus did not redeem us from the blessings of the law, but the curse, so the blessings are still ours today!

Joshua means “God is deliverance” and Caleb means “whole-hearted” or “loyalty”. The names of the two who believed was meant to instill faith in the people to believe the land was theirs: “God is deliverance” and “loyal” is God to deliver. Joshua and Caleb points us to Jesus. While it is true that God did lead His people to receive the Promised land because of His own faithfulness, God ultimately would deliver us from sin and death in Christ and lead us to the Promised Land of Heaven.

Deborah: Israel’s Only Female Judge

Deborah

Daily Reading: (Judges 4:1-4):

“Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, now that Ehud was dead. So the Lord sold them into the hands of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. Sisera, the commander of his army, was based in Harosheth Haggoyim. Because he had nine hundred chariots fitted with iron and had cruelly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years, they cried to the Lord for help. Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time.”

What is so special about Deborah is that not only is she known for her wisdom and courage, she is the only woman of the Old Testament who is known for her own faith and action, not because of her relationship to her husband or another man. Also, the only other person in the Bible who was said to be both prophet and judge was Samuel. Deborah is the only female judge mentioned in the Bible.

A lot of people believe that she was married to Lappidoth because of verse four. We don’t know this for sure, because in Hebrew, the same word is used for “woman” and “wife,”. She could be the woman of Lappidoth the place, however, no such place is known to exist either.

Another possibility is that Lappidoth is her husband, but not his real name. Lappidoth means torches. There is another person who is very close to her whose name means something very similar. “When Deborah felt that she had helped the people to return to God, she sent for Barak, the son of Abinoam.” Some say he was her husband, because “Barak,” means lightning, another name for “Lappidoth.” I think this is the most likely case.

God gives an option to Barak which is so interesting, the end will be victory no matter which option you chose because you are still going forward into what God is leading you to, but the victory option will change depending on which choice you will make here. The victory was already given, but the honor was up for grabs (Judges 4:6-9). There is a blessing I want to give you Barak and through you, it will bless the entire nation, but you have to receive it by faith. Because faith is what inherits the blessings of God. Barak has faith that victory has been given, but to go forward he says: “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go” (Judges 4:8).

God gives the Israelites the victory and they are no longer oppressed. In the very next chapter, Deborah writes a praise song to the Lord.  So, Deborah has an impressive resume of a judge, warrior, poet, and prophet as well as singer and songwriter.

We learn from this story that God has given you everything you need for success in Christ, go forward by faith. 

Judges 5:12-13: “Wake up, wake up, Deborah! Wake up, wake up, break out in song! Arise, Barak! Take captive your captives, son of Abinoam.”Here is the takeaway, start your morning off by singing God’s praises for the victory you have in your day because of Jesus Christ. Peace will fill your heart as it filled the land. You go out in your day in victory in Jesus’ name. Wake up, wake up and break out in song.

The last words of Judges chapter 5 say, “Then the land had peace forty years.”

Judges 5 is the life song Deborah and God’s people got to live. Judges chapter 5 is what a life of peace and experiencing God’s salvation looks like. In Christ, the life song that we live is one of peace and the salvation of the Lord too. Christ has given us the life song of peace with God forever. Salvation is ours whenever we need it. So, I will say it again, wake up and sing God’s praises.

King at Eight

King at Eight Devo

Daily Reading: (2 Chronicles 34:1-2):

“Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.”

These verses are a quick life summary of Josiah. He was only eight when he became king. And it seems like his kingship must have started suddenly, because who plans to king a boy at eight? If this was your initial thought, you’d be right. Life doesn’t generally go according to plan. Josiah’s father Amon was assassinated after reigning for only two years (2 Kings 21:19-24).

For one hundred years, ever since the time of Ahaz, Judah had been a vassal of the Assyrian empire. Their homage and allegiance is with the Assyrians.  Cultic practices had been imposed on Judah that suppressed or obscured their religious identity. There is an opportunity at this moment in history, for a restored identity in the Lord as the Assyrian empire had fallen into chaos.

In the midst of an entire nation who had done evil, the Lord raised up a boy who would not follow the false gods of the pagan nation of Assyria, instead follows the ways of his ancestor David. That is a real influencer right there.  Everyone did what was right in their own eyes, but a true Godly influencer will follow after Truth (2 Chronicles 34:2).

Josiah is eight when he starts to reign, and he does right immediately, but his relationship with the Lord takes some time to develop another eight years. In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David” (2 Chronicles 34:3a).

So, what grand thing has Josiah done yet? Other than following after Truth, nothing is recorded yet. It takes him eight years as king, until he actually seeks God. Four more years of following the Lord before any recorded action, what does this mean? He is resting in relationship with God. He doesn’t make things happen for the sake of making things happen. He is growing in relationship with God and God is preparing him for what comes next. An absence of activity can simply be the preparation that is needed for a breakout at the right moment. Think of the ocean tide, when a tidal wave of God’s activity is about to burst forth, there is first a longer absence of the waves. Be excited for those periods of rest and growth because it will bring forth something incredible for God’s glory.

 “Under his direction the altars of the Baals were torn down; he cut to pieces the incense altars that were above them, and smashed the Asherah poles and the idols. These he broke to pieces and scattered over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. He burned the bones of the priests on their altars, and so he purged Judah and Jerusalem. In the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim and Simeon, as far as Naphtali, and in the ruins around them, 7he tore down the altars and the Asherah poles and crushed the idols to powder and cut to pieces all the incense altars throughout Israel. Then he went back to Jerusalem. In the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign, to purify the land and the temple, he sent Shaphan son of Azaliah and Maaseiah the ruler of the city, with Joah son of Joahaz, the recorder, to repair the temple of the Lord his God” (2 Chronicles 34:4-8).

Josiah means “Jehovah heals”. What God did through Josiah was to heal the nation, to remove the idols, and restore the covenant between God and His people. Even in the name of the king that God raised up, He was pronouncing what He would do, bringing about healing to His people.

The incredible thing is that while the Law foretold death and judgment, Josiah will introduce the people to hope, the Passover Lamb (2 Chronicles 35). This is God’s ultimate plan of salvation, Jesus as our Passover Lamb. Josiah first needs to reinstated the Old Covenant Law with the people before he will offer the Passover Lamb and that is what he does.

Now in 2 Chronicles 35 is the pinnacle to me of Josiah’s accomplishment. “Josiah celebrated the Passover to the Lord in Jerusalem, and the Passover lamb was slaughtered on the fourteenth day of the first month. Josiah provided for all the lay people who were there a total of thirty thousand lambs and goats for the Passover offerings, and also three thousand cattle—all from the king’s own possessions” (2 Chronicles 35:1,7).

Josiah instituted back the Passover Lamb (2 Chronicles 35:16-19) to remove the sins of the people which points us to Christ. But in Josiah’s death, we are pointed to Christ once again. Josiah was great, one of the greatest Old Testament kings it seems, but even he could not save his people. Jesus succeeds precisely where Josiah failed. By taking God’s wrath on Himself, Jesus delivers His own people from it. He is a king with no limit to his ability to save. Through Josiah and all that he tried to do we are shown the greatness of the Lord Jesus – our King who can and does finally and fully reconcile us to God forever.

#God is Faithful

Daily Reading: (2 Timothy 2:8-13):

“Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.  Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”

When it comes to the attributes of God, especially God’s faithfulness, think of God’s faithfulness first and foremost by remembering Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:8).

“Remember” (mnēmoneuō) means: “Call to your mind Jesus.”

It is so important that we develop the habit of calling to our mind Jesus. Think back to those times when circumstances looked one way but turned out to be something else entirely. Remember when you saw God’s will unfold in surprising ways and look for an opportunity to share your insight with a friend or loved one.

Paul tells Timothy to remember Jesus (2 Timothy 2:8) who overcame sin and death and who offers life, and as you do, you can and will be able to endure everything (2 Timothy 2:10) for the sake of the Gospel going forth.

The question in this text becomes: “What exactly is the basis for your salvation?” Paul’s answer is that it is your union with Christ. You are not saved because you said the magic words of a sinner’s prayer. You are saved because you are one with the Lord and his saving life is your life. Paul said he endured all things so others may “obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:10).

Salvation is not just the golden ticket to heaven. It’s not about being put into a lifeboat but being put into Jesus (Ephesians 1:13). Those who are in lifeboats aren’t guaranteed of salvation, they still need to be rescued. This is why Christians with a lifeboat mentality are anxious and fearful. The waves of life toss them to and fro in the ocean of their insecurity, where they have no assurance that they are actually saved.

“Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him.”

“If we died with him.” What makes the Gospel unique is that the Christian life begins at death. Most religions teach self-denial and some form of dying to self, but the gospel simply declares, “You died.”

The message of the Gospel is so glorious in that we don’t merely live, we also endure and reign.” This new life we have in Christ, this union life (2 Timothy 2:11) is a new kind of life characterized by supernatural endurance and reigning in all things (2 Timothy 2:12). If Paul had said, “Work hard and endure and maybe you will get to reign,” that would be nothing special or trustworthy. That’s how the world works. But it’s not how the kingdom works. “This life we have in Christ is an enduring and reigning life,” says Paul. It’s like nothing on earth and “since Christ cannot disown himself, Christ cannot disown you” (2 Timothy 2:13)!

“This is my Gospel” (2 Timothy 2:8) Paul says, “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).