Sermon: PastorBryon July 29, 2018
When I was young I lived in Florida and during the summers me and my friends would swim in the canals in our neighborhood.I recall jumping from a bridge into the water below over and over and having a good time. However, somewhere in my life I developed a fear of heights and today I couldn’t consider even standing on the side of a bridge looking over without the railing between me and the water.
Sometimes fears are irrational and others are very rational. Fear can be a good thing and bad, even crippling. Scripture repeats the phrase time and again to “fear not”, offering the alternative to trust God instead.
26 Now they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly [a]flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 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.”
30 Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.”
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.”
What causes fear?
Doubt. They said, “We are not able” (13:31). Doubt caused them to question their resources to take the land, as well as their God who was leading them.
Low self esteem – 13:33 “We are in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight” (13:33). They saw themselves as teeny, tiny, little grasshoppers about to be squashed by the big, bad giants.
A Critical spirit. When people become negative and inactive, they turn to criticizing others who want to move forward. The whole congregation was influenced by these terrible ten to murmur and complain against God’s leaders, Moses and Aaron (14:1-2).
Unbelief. All of these negative traits can be summed up in one word – unbelief. The writer of Hebrews 3:18-19 says that unbelief kept them from entering Canaan.
What Characteristics did Caleb and Joshua demonstrate that overcame fear?
(1) Faith. They said, “We are well able to overcome” (13:30). They believed in themselves, in their fellow Israelites and most importantly in their God.
(2) Confidence. Concerning the Canaanites Joshua said, “The people are bread for us: their defense is departed from them, and the Lord is with us” (14:9). They had the confidence in the outcome of this undertaking, because they knew they were doing the will of God.
(3) Courage. Joshua said, “fear them not” (14:9). He was not afraid of the giants, the walled cities or the strength of the people.
(4) Action. Caleb said, “Let us go up at once, and possess it” (13:30). Positive people say, “Let’s go and do it now!”
(5) Thankfulness. They understood the land was a gift from God, a blessing due to his delight in them (14:7-8). True appreciation for one’s blessings will lead to action and obedience.
Know this about fear!
- Fear will keep you from the Promised Land
- Fear can put us in opposition with God
- Fear can lead you to the worst possible outcome
2 Timothy 1:7 teaches us that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.