Pastor Miles’ new buzzed haircut today served as a symbol of taking hold of something different in his spiritual life, and he challenged all of us to do the same. Do you want something different to happen in your life? That will never happen until you do something different and have a different spirit.
In today’s passage from the book of Numbers, two million Jews have been in slavery in Egypt and have just been delivered through God’s chosen leader, Moses. They’d been promised a land that is flowing with milk and honey where they can have their own homes, their own animals, their own crops, and their own thriving lives. This can serve as a metaphor for spiritual principles in our lives, as many of us are in bondage through alcohol, low self-esteem, pornography, etc. God wants to set us all free, bring us out of our Egypt and into our Promised land, and restore peace and joy in our lives.
All the evidence around us reminds us that God is faithful. We should take Him at His word and claim the blessings He wants to give us.
In Numbers 13, the Israelites have walked for eleven days and are now at the edge of the Promised land. They send twelve spies - one from each tribe - to investigate the land for forty days. The returning spies report that the land is indeed wonderful, but ten of the spies advise that the Israelites cannot take possession because there are giants in occupation. But Caleb and Joshua have “different spirit.” They trust God and want to take possession, believing that God will be with them and will provide all they need.
All the evidence around us reminds us that God is faithful. We should take Him at His word and claim the blessings He wants to give us. But we won’t have them with an old, dull, negative spirit. We must have a renewed and different spirit.
1. Be different and trust God’s promises.
The Lord says, ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know’ (Jeremiah 33:3). He promises never to leave or forsake you. He is always in your presence, so he wants you to acknowledge Him!
2. Be different and trust the evidence of God’s faithfulness.
There is evidence in your life that God is taking care of you. Think about what those things are and trust that He is there. He understands your needs, your worries, and your desires. Give Him more of yourself and He’ll give you more of Himself.
3. Be different and trust in the power of God.
Before you take cold medicine, pray for healing! Before you start worrying about your finances and planning your budget, pray! Trust that God’s power is active in your life.
The spies returning to camp bring evidence that the land is fertile and wonderful, but it is not enough for them to trust and enter.
Now they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.” Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.” 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.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” Numbers 13:28-33
The land was indeed as good as God had promised the Israelites. Yet all but two of the spies thought that their enemies were too great and they would not be able to take possession. Caleb believed the evidence of God’s faithfulness and trusted that God’s way would work, but the naysayers persisted.
In your own life, you may have encouragers around you. You may be motivated to make changes, take risks, or step out in bold faith according to God’s calling. But there will always be naysayers who discourage you. You have the choice to trust those negative voices or to trust God.
So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.” Numbers 14:1-4
God’s people have just been freed from bondage, guided through the desert by the Lord Himself, and shown a beautiful land of blessing that God wants to lavish upon them. They are on the very edge of the Promised land. They have tested it and seen how good it is, yet they refuse to have faith. They grumble in fear and suppose that being in slavery in Egypt would be better for them.
What about you? Is your comfortable pattern of sin, addictions, and bad habits reaping anything good? Is it better than taking hold of the life God has prepared for you? Remember, God will never call you out of what you’re in into something worse. He desires for you to grow in faith and grace, and His plans for you are good.
But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’ Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.” And all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Now the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel. Numbers 14:6-10
God is trying to bless His people, but they won’t believe Him. What happens next is that God shows up in holy anger and heaps 40 years of consequences on His people. They will now roam the desert -- and none of them (except for the faithful Joshua and Caleb) will ever enter the land flowing with milk and honey.
But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it. Numbers 14:24
Are you choosing to walk around in circles in your own wilderness because you refuse to believe God? It’s time to put aside a wishy-washy faith, a habit of spotty church attendance, and a refusal to give, serve in ministry or commit to a Life Group. Think about your life; if you want something different this year, then walk away from the old and do something different. Pray for a different spirit!