05/18/M – A Different Spirit

Numbers 14:1-25; Mark 14:53-65; Psalms 53:6; Proverbs 15:18-19

OT: “Then the whole community broke into loud cries, and the people wept that night… Why is the Lord bringing us into this land to die by the sword? Our wives and children will become plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let’s appoint a leader and go back to Egypt.” …Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who scouted out the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite community, “The land we passed through and explored is an extremely good land. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us into this land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and give it to us. Only don’t rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land, for we will devour them. Their protection has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us. Don’t be afraid of them!” While the whole community threatened to stone them, the glory of the Lord appeared to all the Israelites at the tent of meeting. The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people despise me? How long will they not trust in me despite all the signs I have performed among them? I will strike them with a plague and destroy them. Then I will make you into a greater and mightier nation than they are.” But Moses replied to the Lord, “The Egyptians will hear about it, for by your strength you brought up this people from them… So now, may my Lord’s power be magnified just as you have spoken: The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in faithful love, forgiving iniquity and rebellion. But he will not leave the guilty unpunished, bringing the consequences of the fathers’ iniquity on the children to the third and fourth generation. Please pardon the iniquity of this people, in keeping with the greatness of your faithful love, just as you have forgiven them from Egypt until now.” The Lord responded, “I have pardoned them as you requested. Yet as I live and as the whole earth is filled with the Lord’s glory, none of the men who have seen my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tested me these ten times and did not obey me, will ever see the land I swore to give their ancestors. None of those who have despised me will see it. But since my servant Caleb has a different spirit and has remained loyal to me, I will bring him into the land where he has gone, and his descendants will inherit it.” (‭‭Numbers‬ ‭14:1, 3-4, 6-13, 17-24‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

The majority opinion is not always right. Ten of the Twelve scouts into the land brought back a discouraging report that was completely void of faith. Joshua and Caleb brought back a true word that was framed in faith… not blind faith, but faith in the God who had been faithful to them. The faithless people opted to accept the faithless report. The majority opinion spread and fanned faithlessness into a raging inferno of rebellion against the will of God. When Joshua and Caleb tried to talk some sense into the situation, the people tried to stone them to death. How easy it is to feed the underlying doubts of faithless people with faithless words from others. If others feel the way you do, then it must be right. We see that happening now. The spoken doubts of the few feed the underlying fears and doubts of the many – and before long, you have countless scores of people believing a ridiculous lie and violently rejecting what is right and true. God offered to end the rebellion once and for all, and start over from scratch with Moses. But Moses cared more for the people than His own reputation – and he cared even more for God’s reputation. He wanted God’s name to be glorified, not ridiculed, so he interceded for the people… and God listened. Moses, Aaron, Caleb, and Joshua were men of a different spirit. They were men full of faith in the God who had proven Himself faithful. They would not allow themselves to forsake the rich promises of God by believing the faithless assertions of the crowd. Because of Joshua’s and Caleb’s bold stand for faith against the faithless majority, they alone would see the promise. The majority is not always right. In fact, they are often very, very wrong.  God, however, is always right; and following His word, will, and ways (even when it is contrary to the majority) always leads to life and blessing. Do we follow the spirit of the crowd, or do we follow the Spirit of the Lord?

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