I was reading the chapter in Joshua about the allotments of the land, and I must admit that I was doing more skimming than reading. And I found something that caught my attention and I had to read it again.
And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.
~Joshua 14: 7, 8
It was such a great reminder. And there were two things in particular that stuck out to me, that I would like to share with you.
1. It is impossible to follow the Lord wholeheartedly and entertain fear at the same time. The other Israelites were well intentioned- they were trying to protect their family from harm. But the second they chose fear over conviction, they lost. They should have been far more afraid of God than of man. I also want to point out that those speaking and encouraging fear were fellow Israelites. It is a good reminder than just because someone knows God, doesn’t mean that the advice they are giving isn’t based in fear. But more importantly, we need to search ourselves. If I’m letting fear (of finances, what people think of me, etc) inform my decisions instead of following the Lord wholeheartedly than I’m missing it too.
2. Maybe Caleb was able to follow the Lord instead of fear because he personally identified with God, not just corporately. If you notice, he referred to “the Lord my God.” God wasn’t just the God of his people, but God was his Personal God too. Both perspectives are important. If we only identify with God corporately, it’s easy to believe that God will take care of His people as a group, but maybe not you personally. When I wrestle with this, I wrestle with feeling like God makes decisions based on the ‘greater good’ but inevitably it isn’t good for someone. I wrestle with feeling like I have to ‘take one for the team’. But the Bible is clear that this isn’t true.
On the other side, we can forget that God is also our corporate God. This plays out sometimes by us forgetting that within the body we are all serving the same God and He is for all of us. I think we especially forget this when there is division and fighting within the body. But I think sometimes it also plays out by an attitude that God ‘needs me’ or that there isn’t someone else He could use instead of me.
In order for Caleb to follow God wholeheartedly and not give in to fear, he had to know on a deep personal level that his conviction was from the Lord, that God would work out what was best for him and for the Israelites as a whole. And he had to trust God personally enough to know that this was true. If God wasn’t his God, the fear would have won out.
Anyways, just a couple of my thoughts this morning as God continues to change me.