“But my servant Caleb – this is a different story. He has a different spirit; he follows me passionately. I’ll bring him into the land that he scouted, and his children will inherit it.” – “Numbers 14:24” – The Message
I feel so privileged and honoured today as I stand before you. None of you have ever met me before and so I am a total stranger – There is no compulsion for you to be hear and yet you are. In light of that I want to thank you for your attendance and say out of the sincerity of my heart that my sole ambition in this time together is to be a conduit of the Lords blessing.
Let me begin by asking you today: – “Where are you standing” – Well! I’ll tell you – “Today Your Feet are Upon the Rock” that where you are standing. Jesus He is our Rock and He is our Foundation.
In your Personal Life, your Family Life your Marriage, Devotional or Ministry Life your Talent or Skill is not the Foundation or Bedrock upon which it is all secure only upon Jesus Our Rock can that occur. All other Ground is Sinking Sand.
Let me hear you say – “I’m Standing on the Rock” (Nubatse ku rutare) – In all that I do in ministry I have learned over the past years that God wants me to Encourage His People and therefore in all my Preaching / Teaching Ministry that’s what I try to do.
You and I can today when we see the “Clouds of Adversity Rolling In” and when we feel the “Winds of Difficulties trying to Shake Us” can truly say – “I will not be moved” Why! Because – “I’m Standing on the Rock” – Let’s say it together – “I’m Standing on the Rock” (Nubatse ku rutare). It is our sure foundation and upon it we will not be moved.
If we are honest with ourselves there are times when we “Feel our Hope is about to Break” – Am I right? Of course, I am. In that situation “What can we declare?” Yes! “I’m Standing on the Rock”. We can with a certainty say – “Let the Waters come, even let the Earth give way below me. I’ll be like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers …. Singing in the Rain.” It’s a truth that sustains us because of where we are standing and the place where we are standing is where (Nubatse ku rutare) – “I’m Standing on the Rock”.
If some of you are going through a tough time and things seem bleak, and you are wondering if you are going to make it through to the end then let me say to you right here and now – “There is a Morning Light” that is coming and the “Horizon if you look outwards is full of Joy”.
- “Clouds of Adversity Rolling In” will come along
- “Waters of Temptation” will rise
- “Lies of Condemnation and Fear” will hit us
- “Feel our Hope is about to Break” will be our experience
However, in the middle of it all we are Safe and Secure because of the fact that what “I’m Standing on the Rock.” We can trust His Unfailing Grace we can trust that He will Never leave us or forsake us.
What does “Psalm 46:1-3” tell us? – “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging” NIV
Likewise, what does “Acts 2:25a” tell us? – (KJV)
“For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved…”
Today as I minister Gods Word to you I want to commence by saying that Preaching, Teaching and Ministry of any sort is not a spectator sport. We can sit and watch, but that’s not the point. The ministry of God’s Word is not a form of spiritual entertainment.
Preaching, Teaching and Ministry and especially Preaching at its heart is a form of engagement, it’s a conversation that’s being entered. In the final analysis I sincerely believe that you will get from it what you bring to it.
Why we Preach
Let’s remind ourselves of some of the good reasons we preach.
1. We preach because God is a God who speaks.
2. We preach as an act of service to others.
3. We preach because the Gospel is thrillingly good news.
4. We preach because people need to hear the Gospel.
5. We preach to build God’s kingdom.
6. We preach to equip others for ministry.
7. We preach because we can’t help but speak of Someone so wonderful.
8. We preach because we care about the people to whom we preach.
Let me say to you today that when we preach there are numerous aspirations involved. However, to equip others for ministry should always be one of them.
In “Ephesians 4:12” – we read in respect of our calling and gifting to His Body that our purpose is “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ”. No matter how great you or I may be, we should remember that we are nowhere near as great as our whole congregations equipped, enthused and launched into serving Jesus.
Churches which have recognised this truth and have grasped that ministry is not wrapped up in a clerical class are Churches – God Blessed, God Infused and God Enlarged.
God has in every congregation given individuals Spirit Gifted to further equip and strengthen believers for their service to Christ.
My earnest longing of heart is to see the time in my lifetime when the entire Church of Christ – no matter the Denomination – so gripped by the awesomeness of our God, so equipped by Him and so excited by who they are in Him.
The Church, you and I can and will be, by His Grace an army of effective witnesses. We will and can be an army of empowering encouragers and heartfelt worshippers. I preach, and we should serve and preach to that end.
- We don’t preach to look ministerial – Heaven forbid – No we preach to see Him lifted up and glorified.
- We don’t preach to build our own reputation. – Heaven forbid – We preach to serve Him, and we preach to serve His Church for Him.
Today, I’m only a tool, I’m only a light, and a reflected light at its very best to point you toward the true light which is the Jesus the Word of God.
Martin Luther King once said: – “I have a dream” – August 28, 1963
His speech was in aid of reducing racism in the United States and he was calling for civil and economic rights.
Well! Today, I want to say to you all – “I have a dream”.
- “I have a dream of the Church being attended by hundreds nay thousands of un-churched people who discover new life and are in the process of discovering just how dynamic a relationship with Jesus really is”.
- “I have a dream of a day when every barrier of understanding and responding to the unadulterated message of the Gospel is removed.”
- “I have a dream that involves all responding to His call to – go into all (of our respective worlds) Preaching the Gospel which is the power of God for salvation.”
It is my intention in our time together to bring you both – Teaching & Preaching – I hope in doing so I will keep your attention. However, what I do know is that the Word of God will always command our attention because it grips our souls, thinking and eventually our motivation in a way that even the greatest of Preachers and Bible teachers cannot do.
If you have your Bible with you then – right there before your eyes and in your hands, you have the full revelation of God’s Heart and Purpose. It’s vital, as I speak, that you engage with God’s Word. The Written Word, The Inspired Word to your Heart and the Revelation it brings.
Let me remind you today of what God has done: –
God and God alone has given us our Regeneration, God and God alone provides for us our Sanctification, God and God alone has provided for us our Faith to Believe.
Conversion, Regeneration, Sanctification and the Faith we have were not an act of your Freewill/Power or mine! No! God by the Holy Spirit provided Irresistible Grace in order to empower it all.
You and I believed not because we were wiser or more righteous than anyone else No! We believed because God graciously intervened, opening our hearts to heed His Word and believe. Jesus said on numerous occasions – “Let him who has ears to hear, hear” and we can thank God today that the Holy Spirit took away the Deafness of Death and granted us the Ability to Hear.
The result of His work is that we rejoice in our title “Child of God” – He is a good, good Father that’s who He is, and I am a Child of God that’s who I am.
However, in the midst of our rejoicing let us not forget that at the foundation of being a Child of God lies something profound and it is that He is still (Kurios – kurioß (Lord) and we are still (Doulos – douloß (Slaves).
- Doulos – douloß – doesn’t as most versions translate it mean “servant”; it doesn’t mean “worker”; it doesn’t mean “hired hand”; it doesn’t mean “helper.”
- There are six or seven Greek words that mean “servant” in some form.
- Doulos never means “servant.”
- There are six or seven Greek words that mean “servant” in some form.
“Exodus 21:1-6” we read – “When you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free, for nothing… But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ then his master shall bring him to God, and he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall be his slave forever.”
What is this conveying to us? It is reminding us that a Slave who loved his Master had a choice in respect of his servitude. He could after 7yrs go out free and live whatever life he or she wanted. Alternatively, if he or she loved their Master they could decide to remain a Slave and it would be signified by the bore mark in his or her ear.
The Scriptures tell us in – “Proverbs 23:26” – “My Son, Give Me Your Heart” and in “Galatians:6:17” – “From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. We bear in our bodies the marks of Jesus” – NIV
This is Gods call to you and me today to give up ourselves in willing surrender to our Master, to adopt the attitude of Slave to Him who “gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” – “Titus 2:14” Berean Study Bible
- The Greek term (possession κατοχή) literally means “one’s own” or “one’s own possession,”
We are all of us here today Leaders in one form or another. However, essentially, it does not matter what title we hold, be it Pastor, Vicar, Elder, Bishop, General Superintendent, Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist or Teacher – What is of paramount importance is that we hold the title and position of (Child of God), (Citizen of Heaven). Why? because out of that, and that position alone, we have by grace been granted all the other jobs and titles we hold.
Good Sound Theology – Is what I want to bring you – To bring you “Theo-logy” – because by it and its application by the Holy Spirits divine power “2 Peter 1:3” – tells us – “…. He hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him (Theology) that hath called us to glory and virtue” – King James
Theology—coming from the Greek words Theos (God) and logos (word)—simply means “the knowledge (or study) of God.”
In respect of the Preaching of the Gospel and the dream I have that I mentioned earlier it’s a fact that Christian and Non-Christian alike need to hear the unadulterated Gospel – Why
- It reminds us who we were and where we have come from.
- It enhances our Worship.
- It encourages our Service.
- It ensures our ongoing work sanctification.
- If we play down “bad” or “harsh” doctrines especially the real truths of the Gospel message.
- If we “sanitise” the good news to make it more culturally acceptable.
- If we try to make it more “acceptable” then the “offence” of the Gospel which in itself makes it compelling.
Then we will soon find, to our shock, that we have gutted all our pleasant and comfortable beliefs and made impotent the power of God unto salvation.
CALEB MAN OF FAITH
I must tell you today that several weeks ago when reading the Scripture, the words – “He has a different spirit” or as the King James puts it “He has another spirit in him” – “Numbers 14:24” jumped off the page and grabbed me by the throat. I had never seen the line before let alone recognised how important and foundational it was.
It was so impacting that it drove me to my knees and began to encompass my waking moments and has had an on-going effect upon my journey with the Lord. I hope that in some manner I can captivate you with it also and that it might truly infect your soul with what it conveys.
I want to centre your attention in this time together on a Bible character called Caleb but before I do let me remind you that there have been many Biblical Men and Women of Faith.
- It was faith in God’s care that enabled Job to say in the midst of personal disaster, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” – “Job 13:15”
- It was faith in God’s protection that enabled Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to stand on the edge of the fiery furnace and say, “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king” – “Daniel 3:17”
- It was also faith in God’s Word that enabled Daniel to survive the lion’s den, “So Daniel was taken up out of the den and no manner of hurt was found upon him because he believed in his God” – “Daniel 6:21”
- It was faith that saved the sinful woman who washed Jesus feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head – “Luke 7:50”
If we took time to investigate “Hebrews 11….” we would discover many more ….
- Faith enabled Abel to offer a better sacrifice Hebrews – “Hebrews 11:4”
- Faith caused Enoch to be translated to heaven without death – “Hebrews 11: 5”
- Faith allowed Noah to build a great ark and preach righteousness – “Hebrews 11: 7”
- Faith caused Abraham to follow the call of God – “Hebrews 11: 8”
- Faith caused Isaac to bless his sons, that caused Jacob to bless his sons, that caused Joseph to hope in the future – “Hebrews 11: 9”
- Faith caused Sarah to have a child – “Hebrews 11: 11”
- Faith called Moses to reject the pleasures of sin for the reproach of Christ – “Hebrews 11: 23-24”
- Faith caused Rahab to receive the spies – “Hebrews 11: 31”
- It was faith that came in the time of crisis to Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jetha and David and Samuel and the prophets and many, many others.
There is significant power exhibited when faith is manifested. All these characters are defined through the words of “Hebrews 12: 12” – “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses…”
However, and I want to recognise and remember this – of none of them is it declared – “…. He has a different spirit….” It is only said of Caleb.
Who was Caleb, we know of Joshua all of us remember him but very often forget his travelling companion Caleb.
Its interesting that the name Caleb in the Hebrew means Dog. The Hebrew spelling of the name Caleb – כלב – is identical with the spelling of the word dog – “kelev”.
The name Caleb is thought to have meant Dog and was given to him whilst a slave in Egypt. However, even in those days he was a “Man if a different spirit” and even though his Epaulette was that of Dog he had determined that he would live like a lion.
The book of “Ecclesiastes 9: 4” say: – “Anyone who is among the living has hope – even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!” NIV
The first time we meet Caleb, the people of Israel are encamped at Kadesh Barnea, an oasis in the Negev desert south of the Promised Land.
It has been only a year or two since they have come out of Egypt and what had the people seen and recognised that God had accomplished?
The people have seen many miracles: –
- The Red Sea opening – “Exodus 14:21”
- Water from the Rock – “Exodus 17: 6” and “Numbers 20:11”
- Manna & Quail to feed a multitude – “Exodus 16:13-14”
- They had fought the Amalekite raiders and won – “1 Samuel 30:1-31”
- Moses had received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai and destroyed the golden calf – “Exodus 20” – “Exodus 32:7–10”
All the foundational requirements of their Nationhood under God as their King had been established and now it was time to enter the Promised Land.
So now entering the drama we see Caleb a 40 years old, recognised leader of his tribe of Judah, the largest of the twelve tribes.
In “Numbers 13: 1-33” we read the account of the specific exploit of Joshua and Caleb. Moses, at Gods command sends twelve men to search out the promised land of Canaan. These men were all leaders of their respective tribes. They were to go and scout out the land of Canaan and to bring back word about living conditions there.
Caleb and Joshua were among the group. Caleb and the other spies walked hundreds of miles up to the northernmost part of Canaan and back again. The feet of the 12 had trodden on the whole country. They spent forty days on their mission, and when the 12 returned they brought back figs and pomegranates and a cluster of grapes so large it took two men to carry it between them on a pole “Numbers 13:23”.
The majority of the search party 10 of them gave a very discouraging report on the promised land and its inhabitants and it was so discouraging that unrest developed amongst the hopeful people and they as a result lost hope. The report caused – weeping, wailing and led to a rebellion amongst the people.
“That night all the people of the community raised their voices and wept aloud” – “Numbers 14:1”. Women were sobbing that their husbands would be killed in battle and their children left fatherless. By morning, the men were ready to rebel, select another leader, and return to Egypt.
The land was as described “flowing with milk and honey” but all they could see was difficulties – “Walled Cities and Giants”. The Israelite scouts said that they felt like grasshoppers in comparison. Caleb, however, saw things a little differently.
The different spirit that God gave testimony of in Caleb was that which declared – “Let us go up at once, and possess [their land]; for we are well able to overcome it” – “Numbers 13:30”
Joshua and Caleb were men of great faith, and they joined in urging that the Israelites go immediately, to the promised land, saying: “If the Lord delights in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for … the Lord is with us: fear them not” – “Numbers 14:8-9”
I want you to notice two things here: –
- Notice the positive attitude.
- Notice the explicit mention of Yahweh in their words.
The ten spies don’t even mention the LORD, only what they have seen that terrifies them. Joshua and Caleb have seen the same giants and the same heavily fortified cities, but they are looking through lenses of faith. They see the LORD enabling them to conquer these people.
It is a reminder of another hero of faith, by the name of David. He faced his giant Goliath and whilst all around him the armies led by Saul were shaking in terror David declares: –
“1 Samuel 17:10” ….” And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day…” Here was this demonic hybrid, whose root DNA was found in the devil and his plans defying the God of Israel. What do we find David saying ….? “for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” – “1 Samuel 26: b”
Goliath then mocks – David, the Army of Saul and more importantly God and the indignation, faith, courage and spirit of David rise up within him and is manifested in the words: – “1 Samuel 17:45-47” – “David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”
The faith of David and in our context Joshua and Caleb was In God and to their desire to Encourage the People reaped the great reward of entering Canaan whilst the remainder of the people due to their lack of faith, ended up spending the next forty years wandering about and eating the dust of the desert, when they might have feasted on milk and honey.
For their faith, they (Joshua & Caleb) were promised that they and their children would live to inhabit the promised land. The fulfilment of the promise in their case was a long time coming but God is always faithful to His promises. It was 45 years after the twelve men returned from their initial exploration of the land of promise, when the new generation of Israel, under the leadership of Joshua, was completing its conquest of Canaan, Caleb spoke to Joshua and said: –
“Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me … to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart. Nevertheless, my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the Lord my God. And now, behold, the Lord hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the Lord spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, … both to go out, and to come in” – “Joshua 14:7-8 -10-11”
There are many lessons we can learn from Caleb. Lessons which will aid us in our respective ministries. More important though will aid us in our relationship with Jesus.
- It is out of that relationship that all the Rewards, Successes and Growth in our ministries derive.
Caleb had to struggle and remain true and faithful to gain his inheritance, so we must remember that, while the Lord has promised us a place in his Kingdom, we must ever strive constantly and faithfully to be worthy to receive the reward.
Caleb then says a very courageous thing and I say courageous because it is a statement that has gone before him throughout all the generations that have followed and arrives with us today.
Caleb concluded his moving declaration of “Joshua 14” with a request and a challenge which thrills my heart recognising here is an 85yr Old Man. Caleb knew that his journey was not over. He recognised that God had more adventures and exploits for Him in which he could see Him at work in his life.
In the land he was to possess there were giants (The Anakims). They were still in the Land. They were inhabiting that which was promised and had to be overcome.
Today, in your journey ahead, and maybe you are facing them right now there are Promises being Inhabited by Giants and as a result you cannot live in their fulfilment. If that it so then you and I need to be like Caleb and say in respect of where they are dwelling – “Give me this mountain” – “Joshua 14:12”.
This is what I believe God is saying to me today for you as the AOG Movement in Burundi. There are great challenges ahead of us, and I say us because we are workers together with God and for some inexplicable reason God has given me a heart for you as His Church and the people of Burundi.
I have to confess my heart before you today that like the Apostle Paul said in “Romans 10:1” – “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel (Burundi) is, that they might be saved.” There are giants to be conquered. However, with the conquering there are great opportunities to see God at work.
I trust that today you will be able to see that exciting prospects and feel able to say to the Lord, humbly, “Give me this mountain.” give me these challenges.
As I was preparing this study for you and seeking God that I might bring Inspiration, Encouragement, Teaching and my Friendship He gave me the following for you as AOG in Burundi….
“God’s desire is to by His Holy Spirit to grant you times of refreshing and especially a refreshing of the relationship you have with Jesus and the Father and the Holy Spirit. He desires that you discover those yet undiscovered yet discoverable areas of His character and personality.
The Word is Yes! To live again, but also that you my people redeemed through the blood of my Son might know of “life upon life” and a “fullness of expression” of that life gained for you with all its victories, grace gifts and expressions of my love.
It has been declared and is a truth that the fields of the harvest are white, and that God in and through the work of Christ at Calvary (which is an on-going work) desires a plenteous harvesting. God’s timing is perfect and as the scripture says, “the wind blows where it wishes” and in like manner does the Holy Spirit as a wind blow.
His desire is to bring a “fresh revelation” of the state of the lost. As is your passion so will be the revelation He will bring. As in a field of wheat with no wind it stands tall and still and then the wind blows and there is recognition of its presence, so it is with the Wind of the Spirit.
You will see the harvest lean and move as the Wind of the Spirit blows and the time of effective harvesting will be at hand and accomplished.
In the harvest will be many types of produce, some strong, some damaged, some diseased, but all weak. God in this would remind you that He is a defender of the weak and it is through you His body that He strengths and tends the harvest.”
There are many lessons to learn by examining the Life & Character of Caleb to start with let’s look at 4 of them just now.
I want us today to see this time as if it was a “New Beginning” a time when God says – “It’s time for change”
Let’s take a look at “Joshua 14: 6-15” – “I am still as strong today as I was the day Moses sent me out, and I am just as ready to fight now as I was then. So, give me the mountain country the LORD promised me that day long ago.” – “Joshua 14:11 – 12a”
1 – Maintain a Heart full of Passion and Preparation for God.
On no less than 6 occasions there are references in Scripture to the testimony of Caleb that he followed the Lord with his whole heart.
Where his companions saw Giants, Difficulties, Problems, Hazards and Traps Caleb saw Opportunities for Gods Glory. Caleb trusted the Lord completely, without reservation and the challenge that comes to all of us today is Do We Trust the Lord Completely and without Reservation – Don’t be too quick to answer that because it is something that needs thinking through.
To trust the Lord and to follow Him wholeheartedly with passion and enthusiasm will require.
Concentration of Spirit – Completeness of Desire – Constancy of Heart
To do this there is a constant need for us to be Filled with the Holy Spirit. I spoke earlier of the Heroes of Faith that have gone before us – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and so on. Well let me say “You are not being called to be like Abraham, Play the Harp like David or even have the same Spiritual Insight and Revelation of the Apostle Paul.” No! unlike Abraham, David or the Apostle Paul you are still around, this is your time, and the time in which your destiny is being outworked.
Don’t for Heaven’s Sake, the People of Burundi’s Sake and the Sake of your Ministry believe for one moment that you must Measure Up to heroes such as Gideon or Isaiah.
In this generation, right now: –
Give all your Attention.
Give all your Devotion.
Give all your Love.
Give all your Faithful Service.
- Right now, you might be saying in your heart – The darkness always seems to win.
- Right now, you might be saying in your heart – The world is crumbling.
- Right now, you might be saying in your heart – I just can’t figure things out.
- Right now, you might be saying in your heart – I’m always in an inward war.
- Right now, you might be saying in your heart – I’m shaken by a storm that surrounds me.
- Right now, you might be saying in your heart – I’m suffering alone.
- Right now, you might be saying in your heart – All I seem to feel is doubt.
Well! If that’s where are now let me say to you – He is in Control, Do I need to say that again – He is in Control. Sure, you might be Living in a Fog but even when He cannot be seen it does not alter the fact that He is With Us and He is In Control.
He is saying to you and me today – Child of God LOOK UP – Let me hear you say – “I’m Standing on the Rock” (Nubatse ku rutare), again with Faith in our Voices and as you do so remember He is saying to you Look Up – “I’m Standing on the Rock” (Nubatse ku rutare)
Out of a heart ignited with passion to see His Glory manifested. What is the Glory of the Father it is Personified in the Person of His Son Jesus.
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.” – “1 Corinthians 15:58” NIV
“Father I commit myself to faithfulness today. You have given me life today; you have given me the gifts you want me to have and use; you have called me by your grace to serve you. I give it all to you today Amen” – A W Tozer
Passion is one thing though Preparation is another thing. If you are anything like me then you will be a Driven Man, I’m not that patient with myself and the older I get the more intolerant I am becoming of others. Neither of these traits are good or attractive but at least I recognise them. However, what I know is that God is still in the process of Moulding & Preparing me. Yes! For the Kingdom of Heaven but also for the years of Service and Ministry ahead for me.
Let me give you an example. Think back to the time when Israel demanded of God a King so they could be like other Nations – “1 Samuel 8:5b” – “…now appoint us a king to rule over us like all the other nations” – We sometimes think that God never wanted a King to reign over them on His behalf however we read in “Genesis 35:11” – “Also God said to him: “I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body.” NKJ we see that it was always expected.
But what I want us to recognise here is not the Setting up of a King but who was Gods Destined Man and the Preparations he had to go through. What God wanted was that His Kings would rule according to the values of Heaven and not for personal glory or gain. Kings though Needed to be Made not just Voted into Position.
Saul was Appointed but he was not Intended.
- The Character of Saul was not able to Properly Contain the DNA of Kingship Why! Because he had not been refined.
In contrast we see David – One He was a Man after Gods Heart and Two he had gone through Years of Discipline and Training to Prepare him to live out Kingly Authority. His trials in the Desert and his devotion to God brought him to a place where He was after Gods Heart he was not born that way.
Its invariably the Secret Place of Preparation that is the Key to Ultimate Success. You will notice I’m sure that the Lion and the Bear were killed by David when they attacked the Sheep – In Private. No one was watching when these things happened. What did that do? It qualified him to go centre stage in front of two Nations when he defeated Goliath.
Such is a privileged position he obtained through his training that throughout eternity Jesus who is “King of Kings” is also known as the “Son of David”.
So, it must be with all of us.
2 – Maintain a Positive Attitude and Devotion to God
History is lined with examples of those who lost their way because they became embittered when they felt that someone else had let them down or even betrayed them. I believe that Caleb would tell us, “don’t give in don’t give Satan a place to stand.”
In “Ephesians 4:27” we read – “…do not give the devil a foothold.“ The original word is “τόπος, ου, ὁ” pronounced (top’-os) and it means – a place, region, seat; an opportunity.
Satan will gain a place to stand in our lives when we allow disappointment and bitterness to consume us. “Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time.” – “Hebrews 12:15” The Message
Joshua and Caleb were surrounded by those who were embittered, grieving, and had hearts that should have been like watered gardens but were full of weeds.
Many people (including Leaders) experience anger toward God it’s not confined only to those who are not Christians. Even Christians who deeply love and respect God can become angry. Just as people become upset or angry with others, including loved ones, they also become angry with God.
Such things as “deaths, illnesses, accidents or natural disasters” inspire the anger. However, it’s not limited simply to traumatic situations. It surfaces also when people experience personal disappointments or failures.
We need to deal quickly and firmly with weeds otherwise no fruit will be produced. We need to avoid the danger of coping with something long enough, so we steadily take on its identity, and the result is that our ambition to defeat it becomes less. In “Proverbs 6:1-11” we read “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty (infertile gardens) (my insertion) will come upon you like a robber and need like a bandit.”
Some people’s perspective is that God is ultimately responsible for such events, (and they are right) and they become angry when they perceive God’s intentions as cruel or uncaring. They think that God abandoned, betrayed, or mistreated them but that’s because they have a Wrong Interpretation of the Sovereignty of God. We deserve nothing, but He has given us all things in Christ and where we deserve Justice, He has given us Mercy.
It was A.A. Milne who said: –
When we are amid our problems and our hearts are becoming like gardens of weeds let’s remember – weeds are flowers too…We have simply to see them how God wants us to.
Alfred Austin said. The Bible tells us “…. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” – “Matthew 12:34”
Caleb maintained a Positive Attitude and Devotion to God right up until his 85th Year.
3 – Maintain a Claim on your Inheritance
In the Message Version of the Bible “Hebrews 10:23” reads like this – “Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word.”
Caleb, our local hero of faith did not wait for somebody else to remember that Moses had promised him an inheritance of land. In the same way, we have a great inheritance that is ours in Christ Jesus. In remembering this though it is well for us to note that Caleb recognised that to claim his inheritance, and to fully possess what has been promised to him he would have to work hard to clear the land and to occupy it.
Caleb had been promised an inheritance, and what was his spirit? it was its mine (I’ve already received it) and he lived his life out in light of it – to him it was his present possession. The inheritance was at the Forefront of his Thinking the Direction. The Motion of his Journey of Faith was Living in it (NOT) towards it.
Think about it for a moment – “What is an inheritance?” It something that has been left to us. Its been perhaps hard gained, maybe fought for, perhaps others have had to suffer and be in want to provide it – BUT its been left to us. Do we then have to Earn It? Of course not.
“We walk today in our time and generation on the ceilings of those who have gone before” we do not need to once again build the structure again.
It is no different for us today.
16 September 1926 – 2 April 2015 (88yrs) – Crystal Cathedral & “Hour of Power”
Dr. Robert Schuller would have called Caleb a “possibility thinker,” one who sees himself walking into the future, not alone, but leaning on the strong arm of his God.
We know in our own personal spiritual battles that sometimes ground that we conquered early in our Christian lives is lost – Why? – Because we failed to occupy it fully and have to re-win it. The battle is not over until we have fully occupied the ground. Then we must continue to defend it watchfully.
Notice what God said to Adam in “Genesis 2:15” – “And the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” NIV
The word Keep is a Verb – It was a Doing or Action Word. In the Hebrew וּלְשָׁמְרָֽהּ׃ it was (ū-lə-šā-mə-rāh) with a Phonetic Spelling of (shaw-mar’) and meant to keep, watch, preserve. That which was being indicated was that even in the earliest of days there was danger lurking.
Adam and Ever were Innocent (Not Righteous) to be Righteous they needed to Pass a Test in which a choice could be made – Obey God, Move from Innocence to Righteousness and Live for Ever in Righteousness or Disobey and move from Innocence into Unrighteousness and Death. We all know what happened, but they were warned to Keep the Garden in which they dwelt.
Likewise, we are to Keep, Defend and Preserve the Gardens of our Hearts in order that we can Maintain a Claim on our Inheritance.
Make no mistake the enemies greatest desire is to cause you to lose your inheritance – “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” – “John 10:10” – are we going to allow him? I hope that there is a resounding declaration from our hearts of – No Way!
There are Long-term Inheritances and there are Short-term Inheritances. In both cases there is a common denominator it is the denominator of Hunger.
Hunger is the power-bank and the driving force behind the enablement of inheritance possession.
Short Term Hungers
- The woman with the flow of blood presses through the crowd to get close enough to Jesus that she can touch the hem of his garment and receives her healing – and commendation from Jesus “Luke 8:43-48” – “Matthew 9:20-22” – “Mark 5:24-34”.
- The Syro-Phoenician woman presses Jesus to heal her daughter, even though she is a foreigner and not a Jew and receives her request with Jesus’ admiration of her faith “Matthew 15:21-28” – “Mark 7:24-30”.
- A sinful woman anoints Jesus in a Pharisee’s home out of thankfulness and love, and though scorned by the Pharisee, receives assurance of forgiveness and salvation from Jesus “Luke 7:36-50”.
- Mary of Bethany, motivated by love, anoints Jesus with extravagantly expensive perfume, though the disciples rebuke her for it. Jesus promises that her story will be retold wherever the gospel is preached “John 12:1-8” – “Matthew 26:6-13” – “Mark 14:3-9”.
- The persistent widow is featured in one of Jesus’ parables where she won’t quit pestering an unjust judge until he gives her justice “Luke 18:1-5”.
These examples were all transitory and passed with them, long-term spiritual inheritances however last into eternity. Why is there a difference? Well! That’s easy – The Preparations we have gone through in which our Characters have been formed through the crucibles of trial and experience enable us to be Suitable Containers to place the Eternal Blessings In.
Saul who we spoke of earlier took possession of what God had given him (Kingship) & (Anointing) but Character did not support the Container in which it was placed.
The greatest inheritance we have received, and which overshadows all other is: –
4 – Maintain an Offense not Defence
Sun Tzu’s The Art of War – Illustrated (Chapter 4: Tactical Dispositions)
Okay, now we find Caleb at 85yrs of age. Is there anyone here who is as old as that or more? I didn’t think so.
Caleb was at the age, when others probably thought that he should just be content with a small plot of land and settle into retirement. I once read the following: – “For most of their retirement, the elderly are not at death’s door, but that door is no longer in another building”.
However, instead he declared to Joshua – “Give Me This Mountain.”
It’s quite possible that right here and now there are those who are facing their own personal Mountain and it is causing them to fear for the future. Standing behind that Mountain is all the fulfilment of their aspirations, dreams and hopes. Is there a mountain that God wants you to have for your inheritance?
- Maybe your mountain is! Friends and loved ones that do not serve the Lord?
- Maybe your mountain is! God placing a burden on your heart for the community.
When God reveals to you your inheritance or your mountain, then I urge you to not look at the size of the mountain or the obstacles or giants in the way, but instead look at the power and might of your God.
When the 10 Spies returned from there scouting out of Canaan 8 of them declared: – “The people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” – “Numbers 13:28, 33” The report was like a cancerous fear engaging and capturing the imagination of the people. It was so growing like a tumour that even during the next day it was there.
Let’s think about Grasshoppers for a moment.
Let me ask the question of us today – “Are we like Caleb or the Grasshoppers?”
You are, and I am a Disciple of the Lord – That is a fact. The Lord is looking for Warrior Disciples who have been taught to be strong and courageous and who declare, “we can certainly do it!” again that is a fact.
The disciples in the following incidents remind us however of a “grasshopper mentality” that can be adopted. Christians today are often beset by fear and doubt. When we as Gods Servants preach the gospel to the lost or when they attempt to obey what the Lord commands us to do we find ourselves if we are not careful living with a “grasshopper mentality”.
At least three times we see Jesus rebuke the disciples for failing to do something He expected and had empowered them to do successfully.
- In “Matthew 17” Jesus calls them an “unbelieving and perverse generation” for failing to heal a boy suffering from epilepsy.
- In “Matthew 8” when the disciples in the boat cry out to him to save them from drowning, he reproaches them with “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Jesus expected his disciples to rebuke the wind and waves.
- In “Matthew 14” when Peter sinks not long after stepping out of the boat, Jesus reproves him by saying, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Jesus wanted Peter to walk to him without sinking into the water.
Look I’m not criticising, No! I don’t know what I would have done presented with the same situations. However, the disciples in these incidents remind us much of the “grasshopper mentality” that the 10 spies had.
In stark contrast, the disciples who were sent out to preach the gospel in Acts were turning the known world upside down for Jesus Christ.
What made the difference, and what was the difference between the 10 Spies and Caleb – They had a different spirit.
In Caleb’s case he had an attitude that was centred upon Jehovah God. In the disciples of the Book of Acts they had been baptised in the Holy Spirit.
After Pentecost the difference was literally night and day. They became very bold, powerful, and fruitful preaching the name of Jesus Christ. Time and time again we see them boldly ministering to the sick to draw the lost to Christ.
The day of Pentecost transformed them from timid and fearful disciples into bold and powerful witnesses of Jesus Christ. That day Peter stood up and preached fearlessly before a crowd of thousands leading them to Jesus Christ.
Moreover, the miraculous, especially the healing of the sick and the casting out of demons, become commonplace in Acts as the gospel was preached as evidence of the truth of the gospel to the listeners “John 14:11-12”.
Let me ask a question of you today, I’ll not ask you to put your hand up but in your heart respond: –
- When did you last pray for the sick and see God Divinely Healing them.?
- When did you last have a situation where you in the power of the Holy Spirit – Cast out Demons.?
Today the Lord is raising up Spirit-filled disciples who like Caleb have “a different spirit” from those who are fearful and hesitant to obey the Lord’s command. They boldly declare that “they can certainly do it” because the Lord has commanded them to do it and given them the power and authority to get the job done.
They are bold and courageous as they go forth into gospel-resistant regions and countries to proclaim the kingdom of God with power and it does not matter if it is to Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and idol-worshippers.
Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” – “Acts 3:6” Peter did not have money to give to the lame beggar, but what did he have? He had that which allowed him to command the beggar to get up and walk. He had authority from the Lord Jesus Christ.
In “Luke 9:1” when Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
Only when someone has been given authority can he or she issue commands to others. Disciples have been given a measure of this authority over disease and demons for the sake of the gospel. This power and authority given to disciples for proclaiming the kingdom of God to the lost continue to be available to us.
The Perspective of the Spies
The spies were impressed with the City of Hebron. It was a walled city in the south, perched nearly at the crest of the mountain chain at about 3,000 feet elevation. The City of Hebron was an ancient city, built seven years prior to Zoan in Egypt (which places its founding at about 1700 BC). However, what the spies see sobers them. For in this strongly fortified city live a race of giant men called the descendants of Anak, the Anakites or the Anakim. (The “- im” suffix in Hebrew usually indicates the plural.)
However, this is a condensed version of what they said……
“Numbers 13:28 – 33” – “… the people who live there are Powerful, and the CITIES are FORTIFIED and VERY LARGE. We even saw descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan. “We can’t attack those people; they are STRONGER than we are.” – “The land we explored DEVOURS those living in it.” – “We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
There wasn’t anything untrue about what they said and nothing wrong in what they said – BUT – What they said was Faithless and took no account of all that God had done for them previously. In stark contrast we hear ringing out from Joshua and Caleb: – “Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, ‘We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.“ – “Numbers 13:30”
The next day also, when the tumour of Unbelief and Fear were enslaving the people Caleb and Joshua try to sway the gathered Israelite crowds with their faith and said: – “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the LORD (Yahweh) is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” – “Numbers 14:7-9”
God hates unbelief because at its root is a denial of His ability and sovereignty.
It finds its foundation in pride because it is only able to see self and not His strength and power.
In this case the Lord was angry with the people and vowed that none of their generation would enter the Promised Land, only Caleb and Joshua. This act of rebellion followed them through the generations to follow and we see it memorialised in Psalm 95 and later quoted in “Hebrews 3:7-19” – “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried me, though they had seen what I did.” – “For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways.’ So, I declared on oath in my anger, “They shall never enter my rest.” – “Psalm 95:7b-11”
A common issue that all of us face is that we “Bring God down to our own level” we have the “Audacity to believe we can keep Him in a box” and from that we allow our life experiences and the various circumstances we have gone through to determine and also define our great God in a way that minimises Him.
Let me urge you today – “Claim your inheritance and remember that God is faithful to keep his promises” so therefore we must always keep looking forward. Be aggressive and bold because God is with you. Say to God, “Give me this mountain!”
If you and I are going to break old habits and make changes in our lives, then we have got to confront and speak to the giants that mock our victory. No matter what you and I may be facing, no matter how big those goals and dreams may seem, let’s start changing our words and declare victory.
Don’t let’s continue talking about our mountains it’s time to – talk to it! Don’t let’s live out our lives and ministries telling the world and others around us how big our problems are No! Begin to tell them and our own hearts how big our God is!
We need to Stand in Faith, Speak Victory and Move Forward in the Freedom and Blessing God has given to us!
“Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.” – “Mark 11:23” NIV
Do we believe that? Well! Do we? If so then speak out right now your Giant, shout out loud you Mountain.
Allow the Holy Spirit of God to make us “Into Men & Women of a different spirit”.