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A Man With a Different Spirit

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A Land of Their Own

It had been along journey for Mt. Horeb. They have come to a place called Kadesh Barnea, an oasis not far from the promised land. They had had many trials along the way with many reminders of how God was leading them. They had had heard God and and were given His instructions for their lives in the form of 2 tablets of stone written on by His own hand. Moses had lead them with God’s guidance in the form of the Cloud always in their presence. They had experienced all these things.
The Israelites knew they would be soon crossing over into the land that was promised to them. An idea was purposed to Moses and he took it to the Lord.
Numbers 13:1–2 NKJV
1 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a leader among them.”
Moses gave them a process for them to follow.
Numbers 13:18–20 NLT
18 See what the land is like, and find out whether the people living there are strong or weak, few or many. 19 See what kind of land they live in. Is it good or bad? Do their towns have walls, or are they unprotected like open camps? 20 Is the soil fertile or poor? Are there many trees? Do your best to bring back samples of the crops you see.” (It happened to be the season for harvesting the first ripe grapes.)
This is probably the route they followed. They were instructed to go all the way to Hamath and back, about 150 miles one way. The Bible says that it took them 40 days to make that trek. The people had been promised by God that the land would be rich and fertile: a land “flowing with milk and honey”. I can surmise that people waiting in the camp were pondering, would the report bear this out. Everybody waited and wondered.

Reporting Back

Numbers 13:25–27 NLT
25 After exploring the land for forty days, the men returned 26 to Moses, Aaron, and the whole community of Israel at Kadesh in the wilderness of Paran. They reported to the whole community what they had seen and showed them the fruit they had taken from the land. 27 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. Here is the kind of fruit it produces.
If I had been in the camp and saw the men carrying that in, I would have had to tie my mouth shut to keep my lower jaw from hitting the ground. Have have you ever imagined even grapes such as those. How about trying to eat one? 2 men had to carry one bunch between them. Samples of pomegranates and figs where offered for the people to see. This was only a sampling of what the Lord had in store for His people. For a short time they were inspired. They were ready to go up and possess the land. God had promised it to them, the time had come at last. The reporters went on from this description to another.
Numbers 13:28–29 NKJV
28 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. 29 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.”
What ever reckoning the spies had used to give this report, there was a definite “but” standing in the way. What does that word but do to you?
Definitions for the word but from Webster: except for the fact, if not, on the contrary, on the other hand, with the exception of. Is there any positiveness in any of those uses? All negative aren’t they. You’ll have experienced what happens to a positive conversation when a negative or a “but” is thrown in. I don’t have to describe it. Negative thoughts go along ways in squelching God’s possibilities for our lives and our church.
What did it do for Isreal? The excited chatter and the elation died as these new descriptions made it through the crowd. Courage was replaced with despair. The vision and knowledge of the mighty power of God, so often given to them already, vanished and was forgotten. The spies explained that they saw two aspects to this problem: “the people that live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large” and to top it off “We saw the descendants of Anak there” Giants rumored to descend from the the Nephilim themselves. No one could overpower them. A greatly anticipated day fell into pandemonium.

The Minority Report

2 out of the 12 had a different opinion.
Numbers 13:30 ESV
30 But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.”
Imagine this secene with me. 12 men all well known to the people, the Bible says each one a head of their respective tribes, giving their opinions and 10 of them came up the same answer. Then you have Caleb, backed up by Joshua and seeing where this was going, his mind screaming noooooo. Imagine the courage and the bravery it took to stand against that vast majority and voice his opinion. What happens in the pit of your stomach and the palms of your hands when you know in your heart that you need to voice your opinion on a certain topic? I know what mine does.
As Christians living in an increasingly godless and secular world with laws and opinions that undermine God’s moral law on a daily basis now, it’s tough to speak out against the prevailing opinion with all the ‘political correctness’ that everyone thinks is necessary. I’m speaking to myself as well here. Do we stand up and make our stand with God or do we remain silent and let evil prevail. This world will succumb to evil. we can’t prevent that. The Bible tells us so. But the individuals that we connect with each day, will we stand by and let Satan have them too?
Numbers 13:31–33 NKJV
31 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.” 32 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. 33 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.”
12 men went to the same places at the same time and all saw the same situations. How could they come to such diametrically opposed conclusions? 10 of them were walking by site alone, Caleb and Joshua were walking by faith! What a difference eyes through faith see vs eyes motivated by self. Instead of we saw and we can’t , the result was, Let’s go occupy and take for we will be able to overcome. They weren’t put off by obstacles in the path. They were looking at God, not the problems. There boldness and confidence were based on what they believed God could do, not on what they believed the Israelites could do.
If we had been one of the 12 would our reports been like the ten or the two? Full of fear and unbelief or full of faith and based on our belief in God no matter what we saw? Paul exhorts us
2 Corinthians 5:6–7 NKJV
6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.
My prayer is that God help each one of us attain this level of maturity in our walk with Him.

Negative Talk

One can only guess, but I imagine that the discussion didn’t end quickly at all. There was plenty of blaming mostly at Aaron and Moses. The mob responded as a mob usually dose: shouting, grumbling, fear, weeping, it was all there and then some. The Israelite returned to a familiar theme.
Numbers 14:2–4 NKJV
2 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! 3 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?” 4 So they said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.”
The negative faithless talk had clearly infiltrated the whole camp. There emotions and everything that goes along with that were now completely out of perspective. They only saw one alternative: back to Egypt.
Where had their faith and trust in God gone? So many miracles. So many tangible evidences of God’s love, care and protection for them. They were on the very threshold of achieving the goal God had promised them and they were letting it slip through their fingers. Satan’s instigation of unbelief hand be able to overcome belief.
Are we immune from this problem? It does happen to us doesn't it. We trust God to take of the relatively small matters in our lives, but let some big event, some major problem loom up and faith goes right out the window. Those bad things distort our perspective and we mentally seem to loose all that we have gained.
How do we keep that from happening. Encourage one another and ourselves by remembering all the things that God has already done . All those tangible good things that have happened in our lives and the bad things that we have gotten through and survived with the help of our Saviour.
Luke 1:37 NKJV
37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”
Jeremiah 32:17 NKJV
17 ‘Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.
Jeremiah 32:27 NKJV
27 “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?
If we build and keep building our faith with these verses and more, God will enable us to achieve that or those goals that He has laid on our hearts.

Positive Talk

At this point, Caleb and Joshua could stand it no longer.
Numbers 14:6–9 NKJV
6 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; 7 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. 8 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.’ 9 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.”
They had been listening to all the carrying on, so in an attempt to get the people to listen to reason they tried again. With their clothes ripped and standing in the midst of the crowd, Caleb with Joshua, probably since he seemed to be the spokesperson, brought out these very important points: the land was exceedingly good, that God would lead them into the land and give it to them - provided that they didn’t rebel against Him, that Israel should not fear the people of those lands because “we will swallow them up”. “The Lord is with us do not fear them!”
Caleb so wanted them to get a different picture than the other 10 were trying to pass on. But they could not or would not. When we see things through the eyes of faith, we see them as God views them.
Unfortunately the rest of Isreal did not have the same vision that Caleb had. They had given themselves up to despair. Caleb and Joshua did not agree with them and so angered them that they succumb to the mob mentality, someone suggested stoning and immediately that became the thing to do.
It’s easy to point fingers and condemn the people for what they did, but how often do we let the majority and or our friends sway our opinions. How often is our first question, “What is God saying” instead of “What is everyone else saying”?


As they all picked up stones to carry out their plan, God stepped and stopped them right where they stood. His presence and glory filled the temple. A mightier one than they revealed Himself and none dared continue their intent.
Numbers 14:11–12 ESV
11 And the Lord said to Moses, “How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them? 12 I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.”
Moses went again to the Lord and pleaded on their behalf for God to show His great mercy once again and spare them.
Numbers 14:19 ESV
19 Please pardon the iniquity of this people, according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you have forgiven this people, from Egypt until now.”
I wonder if the children of Isreal ever realized how close to annihilation they came to that day. Moses was so close to God that he knew what was needed and his love for this “stiff necked people” as the Lord called them was unbounded. We don’t now the meaning of the word love as Moses new it.
Numbers 14:20–23 NLT
20 Then the Lord said, “I will pardon them as you have requested. 21 But as surely as I live, and as surely as the earth is filled with the Lord’s glory, 22 not one of these people will ever enter that land. They have all seen my glorious presence and the miraculous signs I performed both in Egypt and in the wilderness, but again and again they have tested me by refusing to listen to my voice. 23 They will never even see the land I swore to give their ancestors. None of those who have treated me with contempt will ever see it.
In their rebellion the people exclaimed, “Would God we had died in this wilderness!” That prayer was granted.
Numbers 14:28–29 NLT
28 Now tell them this: ‘As surely as I live, declares the Lord, I will do to you the very things I heard you say. 29 You will all drop dead in this wilderness! Because you complained against me, every one of you who is twenty years old or older and was included in the registration will die.
Numbers 14:34–35 NKJV
34 According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection. 35 I the Lord have spoken this. I will surely do so to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.’ ”
This unbelieving generation put God’s plan back forty years! He wanted to bring them to the promised land. They short changed themselves.
Do you suppose that we have done this in our ignorance. Have we made God change His plans that he has had for us? I think we probably have, but in God’s loving way he holds back His plans and allows us His erring children time to realize our mistakes and catch up to where He originally wanted us to be.
What about the 10 spies?
Numbers 14:37–38 ESV
37 the men who brought up a bad report of the land—died by plague before the Lord. 38 Of those men who went to spy out the land, only Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh remained alive.
Have you noticed, as we have gone through this story so far, that all will receive the consequence for what we’ve done. Even though we’ve been forgiven we still must reap what we’ve sown. David was called a man after God’s own heart, but suffered the consequences of his actions. But for those who cause others to sin the retribution is swift and immediate. David lost the son that Bathsheba bore to him. Those who cause others to sin, especially if they should have known better, bear more responsibility. God is long suffering. We see it in His dealings with Isreal. He didn’t wipe them of the map. He gave them another chance. He does that as well with us.
But we are told that God will only suffer this situation so long. We are rapidly coming to the end of His tolerance. We must have the faith that Caleb showed.

Commended and Rewarded

God singled out Caleb for special honour.
Numbers 14:24 ESV
24 But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it.
God commended Caleb for his attitude of mind. There was a “different spirit” about him in the way he saw things and the way he reacted to people and situations. His faith and his trust in God was so complete that he saw things from God’s perspective and was able to discern things appropriately. Caleb would do anything God asked him to do with a willing heart and to the best of his ability.
Can God say the same thing of us: that we have a “different spirit” and follow him whole heartedly? Are there some areas where our attitudes to situations and people are lacking in godliness, and are no different from those of our secular associates? We need to be diligent in our discipleship and service to God. I pray that God will show us attitudes of mind and heart that are pleasing to Him.
I haven’t yet mentioned Caleb’s reward. After the conquest of Canaan, land was being divided.
Joshua 14:6–12 NKJV
6 Then the children of Judah came to Joshua in Gilgal. And Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him: “You know the word which the Lord said to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh Barnea. 7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy out the land, and I brought back word to him as it was in my heart. 8 Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt, but I wholly followed the Lord my God. 9 So Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land where your foot has trodden shall be your inheritance and your children’s forever, because you have wholly followed the Lord my God.’ 10 And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, as He said, these forty-five years, ever since the Lord spoke this word to Moses while Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old. 11 As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in. 12 Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim were there, and that the cities were great and fortified. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the Lord said.”
He did it too! You can read about in Joshua chap 15. God called Caleb a “man with a different spirit” I want to meet him when I get to heaven.
We need now more than ever before for “Calebs” in our churches: men and women with vision, with a different spirit and godly boldness and courage, walking by faith. Can you imagine the possibilities?
It is true we can’t all be ‘Joshuas’ ; but we can all be Calebs!
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