WELL ABLE Andy Hollifield 1-26-17
As I was reading scripture to prepare Wednesday’s post, I ran across some scripture I had read numerous times and even preached out of. The word of God doesn’t get old it just gets better. There is something new every time you read it. I believe it may sometimes have something to do with the storms we have to endure and our personal experiences with God working in our lives. What ever the reason, like often happens, I had one of those instances where God showed me something new in a familiar scripture. I am not talking about a new truth or divine revelation or private interpretation or anything unscriptural like that. Just something that had always been there and I had missed it. “Well able;” the words that Caleb used to still the people in Numbers 13:30 after some of the other spies had given a bad report to God’s people. They had given a glowing report of the land and how rich it was. They described it just as the Lord had said; a land flowing with milk and honey. They had even cut down a cluster of grapes that was so huge it had to be carried on a staff between two men. The problem with the report was when they began to describe the inhabitants. They had seen the children of Anak which were giants. These were actual giants and the spies said the Israelites were “in our own site as grasshoppers.” It is easy to see how discouraging that could have been. That should be a lesson to us; before we worry about what someone has seen or thinks about something, we should be mindful of what God has said and take him at his word. Caleb attempted to restore calm. Verse 30 says “And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are WELL ABLE to overcome it.” After Caleb had intervened, the report about the land suddenly got a lot worse. The other men said in verse 32 “…it is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof…” It had been just fine and flowing with milk and honey just a moment before. Isn’t that how we get sometimes? The more we obsess over something, the worse it gets to looking. Before we know it, we can talk ourselves right out of the blessings of God and right into a defeated life.
Things quickly escalated from bad to worse. Do you realize that from verse 28-33 the spies mentioned the size of the people three times and their strength twice? The description even went from bad to worse. In verse 28 They were simply “the children of Anak and the people were strong. In verse 31 the men said “We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.” Verse 32 says “…and ALL THE PEOPLE we saw in it are men of great stature.” Verse 33 “And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” Did you notice how that it kept getting progressively worse and it went from some to ALL of the people? That is exactly how we will do if we aren’t real careful. We have a tendency to be overly dramatic and blow things out of proportion when it comes to having to exercise faith.
I mentioned that it got worse. Chapter 14 opens with “And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. (2) And all the children murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would God we had died in the wilderness! (3) And wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? Were it not better for us to return into Egypt? (4) And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.” Did you notice what has been missing so far? There has been no mention of the promise of God. If God said it, none of this other stuff matters. In your fight; if you have a word from God; circumstances don’t matter. Moses and Aaron immediately began to pray and Caleb and Joshua, who had also been among the spies, rent their clothes. You need to understand at this point what a big deal it was for someone to “rend” their clothes. Clothes were a big deal because they were not plentiful especially among common people. If you had more than one change of clothes you were very fortunate. In several stories in the bible, changes of raiment were given and considered as great gifts. For Joshua and Caleb to tear their clothes in pieces, was a great sign of fear and outrage.
Joshua, along with Caleb, took his turn at trying to talk sense into his countrymen. Verse 7 “And they spake unto all the company of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. (8) If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. (9) Only rebel not against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defense is departed from them, and the Lord is with us: fear them not.” The multitude began to talk of stoning Joshua and Caleb. God began to speak to Moses at this point. He was ready to wipe out the nation of Israel and make a great nation of Moses. Had Moses not interceded on behalf of the children of Israel, the entire nation of Israel would be descendants of one tribe; Moses. According to verse 22, this was now the tenth time that Israel had tempted the Lord since leaving Egypt. It was here that God declared that any person twenty and older would not enter the promised land except Joshua and Caleb. In verse 33 and 34, God declares that Israel will wander in the wilderness for forty years, one year for every day that the spies spent searching Canaan which was 40 days. God even said about Caleb in verse 24, “because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.
We know the rest of the story. The children of Israel spent forty years wandering and being buried in the wilderness because of their unbelief. Only Joshua and Caleb entered the promised land with the children of Israel forty years later. They were the only ones that were 20 or older that got to enter. That brings up a question; will you die in your wilderness or will you believe God and face your giants? What a shame it would be to start right and finish wrong. What a shame to endure all the storms you may have gone through only to lose faith and hope and die in the wilderness out of the will of God. God told Caleb he could have the land he had searched out. If you read about the division of the promised land after they went in, you will find that in Joshua 14:12 that Caleb asked Joshua for the possession that the Lord had promised him all those years before. You will also find that Caleb was the one that drove out the three sons of Anak. Will you claim your mountain? Will you have faith enough to believe God or will you trade away your posession out of fear and unbelief? This may not seem encouraging but it should be. Regardless of what things may look like or what people may think about it, you can have what God has got for you if you only have enough faith to climb the mountain and go get it. The Lord does delight in you as Joshua said. He don’t make empty promises. The defenses of the enemy have left them. What God has for you is EXCEEDING GOOD. The enemy is “bread” for you, just a snack to feed on while you are headed for victory. You DON’T have to be afraid, the enemy’s stones can’t hurt you. You are “WELL ABLE TO OVERCOME IT.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!