02/17/16 Losing in Our Strength

READING: Numbers 14-15

Let me get right to the point today: sometimes we lose spiritual battles because we forget who our warrior is. And, we forget who our warrior is because we mistakenly think we’re fighting our own battles. Both errors spell disaster. 

The Hebrews learned this truth the hard way. A very hard way. They had come to the brink of the Promised Land, and two of the twelve spies (Joshua and Caleb) believed that God would give them the land He had indeed promised. You might remember from Numbers 13:31 that the other spies said otherwise: “We can’t go up against the people because they are stronger than we are!” If ever there were an evidence of people viewing themselves as the warrior, it’s in this text. The giants in the land were stronger than the Hebrews, but the Hebrews weren’t intended to be the warriors. If they had remembered that God was their warrior, they would have realized that giants bigger than they were still no match for their God. 

The people instead grumbled and rebelled, crying out to return to Egypt. Listen to what Joshua and Caleb said to them, and hear the drastic contrast between their words and the words of the rebellious people: “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!” (Num 14:9). Still, the whole group threatened to stone Joshua and Caleb — and God announced judgment on the people. Everyone age 20 or above would die in the wilderness. Their warrior would be their judge. 

Even when the people announced their sin and prepared to take the Promised Land, God would grant them no such permission. Instead, He gave them this message through Moses: "Don’t go, because the Lord is not among you and you will be defeated by your enemies. The Amalekites and Canaanites are right in front of you, and you will fall by the sword. The Lord won’t be with you, since you have turned from following Him” (Num 14:42-43). Taking a single step in a battle without God's leading is dangerous, indeed. 

Today, you and I will face spiritual battles. If we cower in fear, we lose. On the other hand, we also lose if we march forward in our own strength. If we fight first and then turn to God only after we learn we can’t win, we’ll have missed the point. 

ACTION STEPS: Consider these steps today:

  • Honestly reflect on your life. Do you turn to God immediately when you face the enemy? Do you live in fear of the enemy? Or, do you fight first and then pray second?    
  • Any time you sense temptation or struggle today, flee in haste to God. The enemy is strong, but he’s no match for God.      

PRAYER: “God, break me of my strength and arrogance today. I run to You even now as my warrior.” 

TOMORROW’S READING:  Numbers 16-17