Part 3- What Happens When We Have Faith
In our previous blogs we have been looking at faith. We defined faith, and we looked at two examples of people in the Bible who exhibited such faith. Today we are going to continue our discussion and talk about how to apply what we have learned to our lives.
There are two ways we can look at what happens to us. We can look at what happens through eyes of fear — or we can look at what happens through eyes of faith. That’s really it — there are no other options that I can think of.
A good example of this is the story of the Jews entering the Promised Land. Moses led the nation of Israel out of Egypt. However, Pharaoh changed his mind and decided to get the Jews back. As he and the Egyptian army crossed the Red Sea after the Jews — God destroyed them. From there the Jews traveled in the desert for 2 years, until they came to a place called Kadesh. Here they’re made plans to cross the Jordan River and go into the Promised Land.
This was the land that God promised to give them to be their permanent country, but before they went in, Moses said, “I am going to send in a team of 12 scouts to scope out the land”. So, he does, and when they return from their scouting trip, they give a mixed report. Two of them (Joshua and Caleb) say, “It’s an incredible place — God gave it to us — so let’s go take it.” But the other 10 said, “Yeah, it’s a great place, but…… they came up with a lot of reasons why they couldn’t go in. Joshua and Caleb were seeing with eyes of faith, but the others were seeing with eyes of fear. So, the Jews decided not enter the promised land, and they wandered in the desert for next 38 years.
We can learn some lessons from this story about looking at life with fear. I want to discuss three scenarios. Let’s look at the first one.
When we look at life with fear, we exaggerate our problems.
Le’s go back to the story of the Jews. God had dramatically delivered them from bondage in Egypt, so you think they would be filled with courage and confidence. However, when they arrive at the Promised Land, they were filled with fear and worry. How quickly they forgot. But before we fault the Jews — we have to realize that we do the same thing. We often look at our problems with eyes of fear — and when we do that — we make them bigger than they really are — and we often want to give up.
Let’s look at Numbers 13:27-28.
“This was their report to Moses: ‘We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey………. But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak!’”
This was the report of the 10 fearful scouts. They accurately reported the land was bountiful. But they said the people living there were powerful — their cities are fortified and large — and they saw giants!
However, Caleb had a different perspective. Let’s look at Numbers 13:30-33.
“But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!” But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. ‘We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!’ So, they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: ‘The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge.’ We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers ….”
The majority report was negative, but that’s not unusual. The majority report is almost always negative. The majority are almost always looking with eyes of fear and not eyes of faith. Only two of the scouts had faith — Joshua and Caleb.
Here’s something else that’s always true — people naturally listen to worriers and naysayers. Negative attitudes are contagious. Initially all the Jews were excited about going into the Promised Land, but when the 10 scouts came back and said, “We can’t do it” — everybody changed their mind and became infected with negative attitudes.
What’s ironic is 38 years later — when the Jews finally did take the promised land — the people living there said.
“We have lived in panic for 40 years because we heard about the 10 plagues of Egypt”. We heard what your God did against Pharaoh. And we were scared to death!”
The Jews needlessly wandered in the wilderness for 38 years because of their exaggerated fears. And that’s the problem we often encounter. When we look at life with eyes of fear — we exaggerate our problems.
That’s the first issue with being fearful. Next week we will look at a second issue. See you then!