We all have challenges -mountains – at various times in our lives, but they should not prevent us from wholly following the Lord. Do I view my challenges as opportunities to prove God, taking me into a deeper, closer walk with Him, or do I pray for God to change my circumstances?
Don’t ask God to change your circumstances. He permits them to change you!
Joshua 14: 6-15 records the account of Caleb whole heartedly following the Lord. Caleb was one of the scouts sent in to spy out the Promised Land forty years earlier, when Moses was alive. He and Joshua were the only two of the company who came back with a positive report. Joshua and Caleb had a deeper walk with the Lord and knew that with God, all things were possible. They believed that as they walked with God, He would incrementally enable them to conquer the giants of the land and any other challenging circumstances. Is not this the way our Heavenly Father leads all of us? Only as we prove God personally in our circumstances do we find, and prove, Christ’s enabling strength and ability in His provision of resurrection life. The mountains are there to take us deeper into God, to trust Him and believe He is who He says He is.
Caleb believed God. He had plenty of opposition from his negative countrymen. Joshua 14:7-13 records his conversation with Joshua: ” Forty years old was I when Moses sent me to espy out the land, and I brought him word again as was in my heart. Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt, but I wholly followed the Lord my God. Moses swore on that day, saying, “Surely the land whereon your feet have trodden shall be your inheritance, and your children’s forever, because you have wholly followed the Lord, my God”. And now, the Lord has kept me alive, as He said, these forty five years, even since the Lord spoke this word to Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness, and now, lo, I am eighty five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day Moses sent me. As my strength was then, so is my strength now, for war, both to go out and to come in. Now therefore GIVE ME THIS MOUNTAIN, whereof the Lord spoke in that day. You heard how the giants were there and the cities were great and fenced, if so be the Lord will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out as the Lord said. And Joshua blessed him and gave Caleb Hebron for an inheritance…….because he wholly followed the Lord……..And the land had rest from war”.
Caleb chose not to be deterred by what others judged as impossibilities. The other scouts were fearful of the giants, Caleb viewed them as opportunities to prove God’s word of promise to them. He would not entertain fear that opposed what God had spoken. This is a characteristic of wholly following the Lord.
A belief in the impossible demands a refusal to believe the obvious. When God has spoken He requires us to have faith in His word and not judge by the sight of our natural eyes. Caleb saw the fenced cities and the giants as opportunities to prove God’s word of promise to them.
After the death of Moses, Joshua was commissioned by God to lead the people into the Promised Land. Joshua 1 records his commission and God’s promises to the people regarding the Land. “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given you……There shall not be any man that shall be able to stand against you all the days of your life….I will not fail you nor forsake you. Be strong and of a good courage, to this people shall you divide the land for an inheritance, which I swore to their fathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous, observe to do all the law which Moses, My servant, commanded you. Do not turn to the right or the left, that you may prosper wherever you go”. Joshua 1: 3-7.
Caleb believed God’s word and revelled in the opportunities to prove God. “Give me this mountain”…. He accepted his challenges in life and used them to move on in God. God gave all mankind the gift of freewill, so we all have choices and He will not overule them. Every choice we make in life has consequences, whether we make right choices or wrong ones. God’s law of sowing and reaping stands. If I have made wrong choices and His Holy Spirit enlightens me regarding something specific, I have opportunity to humble before the Lord and repent. After repentance I may still be living in the consequences of past choices, but now His grace and enabling strength are available for the path I must walk, here His presence carries me, whereas before life was a constant struggle in my own strength. There truly is a rest for the people of God when we surrender the battle. The battle belongs to the Lord…..(2 Chronicles 20:15)
If I make a right choice to the Lord, He fixes my choice. I do not trust in my choice, but I trust in God who sees all the right choices I make and He fixes my choice. All the time I have breath, I have opportunity to choose what God wants. Incrementally God is chipping away at the things which hold us back from divine purpose where we wholly follow the Lord. Caleb walked in the consequences of his right choices and experienced divine health and strength.
What is it that I must do in responsibility because God will not, and what is it that only God can do in sovereignty that I cannot? God’s sovereignty gloves human responsibility – choice.
Be encouraged, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”, Philippians 1:6. Can a half hearted person become whole hearted in following the Lord? Yes, yes, yes! Choose this day whom you will serve. God’s word gives me the belief that I can be conformed to the image of His Son and walk in His Promised Land of fullness, here on earth. Will I be part of the Joshua/Caleb army that step on the waters and open the entrance to the Promised Land, giving all glory to God?
Do not consider the greatness of the circumstance that overwhelms you, but consider the greatness of your God.
Give me this mountain!