- Sermon Notes
Intro: Cradle Concerns
God has such incredible plans for us! It’s so important that we never lose sight of that hope-filled fact. Yet, there is one tactic that always seems to emerge to distract us from that hope…fear. Fear invites us to twist the anticipation of what God will do into anxiety that we won’t make it through, and we too often allow fear to rob us of our joy and peace.
But here’s the good news, Jesus has the remedy to fear. Better stated, Jesus IS the remedy to fear! God is calling us to have a faith that would neutralize this attack and free us up to rejoice in what God is planning. Today we are cultivating this fear scattering faith!
Read: Numbers 13:27-14:9
The Israelites were at the precipice of their journey. Would they be willing to take the leap in faith, trusting God to make good on His promises? When we find ourselves at the edge of what God has for us, we are often faced with the same question. Who will win the tug of war in our heart, fear or faith?
- See with eyes of faith
- The 12 men sent into the land were tasked with spying out a report. They were getting a sneak peak of what Israel would face –and what Israel would gain—in claiming God’s promise.
- Now, all 12 spies witnessed the same things. The land was bountiful and good, a wonderful place where people could thrive. Israel was in for a true blessing! But, it was also occupied, and the inhabitants didn’t look like pushovers.
- In spite of having gathered the same information, not everybody came to the same conclusion.
Illus. Gas in the tank
- We all have different tolerances for risk, but for the 12 spies, it ran deeper than this.
- The majority of those that went into the land came back with a fearful report, they acknowledged the goodness of the land, but slapped on that “nevertheless.” Their fear of the people they saw, the cities, the challenge, overrode their hopefulness in what God had promised.
- They were fixated on the trial and not on the triumph.
- Not so with Joshua and Caleb. These two saw all the same issues, and yet they were confident that Israel could still claim the Land Flowing with Milk and Honey!
- Now, perhaps Joshua and Caleb were just more cavalier, more bold by personality, but, I think it is deeper. They weren’t stuck on how big their problems were, because they knew how big their promise was. And, even more, they knew how big the Promiser was!
Illus. Tell That Mountain
Mark 11:23 Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.
Numbers 13:30 Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.”
- This is how we need to see our circumstance! When the world around us, and the voices of doubt are certain we should give up, we need to ask ourselves, “is this something God has for me?/has for me to do?”
- Now for Israel that should have been easy to answer, because God had communicated His intent. He planned to give that land to them.
Job 42:2 “I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
- So we can start there, what has God planned for me? What does He want? The Bible is brimming with God’s promises to us and His will for us!
- What has God set in front of you? Is there a conversation you need to have that you are afraid will go sideways? A friend you need to invite to encounter Jesus? A relationship you need to step away from? A calling you need to step into? A sin that you have nurtured as a comfort in your life that you need to die to? A new way of hope in Christ that you need to start living for?
- When God is leading your life you must allow Him to illuminate your view of the situation.
- Caleb and Joshua saw the blessings of the land and the power and faithfulness of the one promising it. They did not let fear blind them to the reality of their circumstance! Can we do the same?
- It’s similar to what Samuel spoke to in a recent message, Caleb and Joshua already knew how the story would end, they believed that God could and would do what He said.
Illus. Saw that coming
- Well, this is what the Word says:
Romans 8:37- 39 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- Paul was convinced, and so am I! We are conquerors because of Christ’s love! “The work is finished, the end is written!” This truth needs to color our perspective.
- We need to see with eyes of faith, able to look beyond the momentary afflictions and obstacles. Our world is full of such things right now, and it will always be that way on this side of eternity.
- Most of us see how prevalent the troubles of this life are, but our attitude about how to proceed is going to be shaped by how much we believe verses like:
John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.
- When we are faced with what seems scary and uncertain, we need to keep our eyes trained on Jesus. Let’s leave no room for lies.
- Give fear no foothold
- The people of Israel heard the two conflicting take-aways, and instead of choosing faith, they listened to the fearful majority. Terror and doubt swarmed the hearts of God’s people.
- When the message of fear finds its footing in our lives, our trouble is doubled. Or worse.
Illus. Don’t close your eyes!
- There are many things that brew up fear in our lives. The Israelites were scared by the idea of the men dying and the women and children being captured.
- While most of us don’t face mortal danger all that often, there are still things that scare us. Failures, loses, let-downs, the fear that harm of any kind would come to a loved one. These are all places where fear can creep in.
- We all are confronted with this emotion, it isn’t something we can really stop ourselves from encountering. But, we can’t let it hijack our hearts or minds. We can’t let our fear steer.
2 Timothy 1:7 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (NKJV)
- Israel spun out after hearing the bad report of the 10 spies, Caleb and Joshua’s faith-filled message was drowned out by terror, and panic set in.
- They spoke about returning to Egypt, from where they had escaped, and overthrowing Moses –effectively the Lord’s leadership—and appointing their own leader.
- When you break that dynamic down, it is all too familiar. When we don’t like the looks of God’s path for us, it can be very tempting to pull out our own map.
- It is one of the core sins of man to reject God’s will in our lives’ and set up an idol in His place.
Illus. My way
- Sometimes we treat our hearts like a democracy, we vote in the leader that serves us best in the moment. It really ought to be a monarchy, or rather a theocracy, with Jesus on the throne.
- We should faithfully walk the course God lays out for us, because no matter what the path looks like, the Lord will bless you through it!
Isaiah 58:11 And the Lord will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden
- Fear will try and derail us, and an idol may tempt us, but we must leave no room fear to take a foothold. Let faith in Jesus carry you on, into His promise!
- Depend on the Lord
- As the people of Israel panicked, Caleb and Joshua gave one last plea.
Numbers 14:7-9 The land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us — a land which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.
- The people heard this, and rejected it, instead trying to silence the two. They had become so owned by fear, that the voice of faith was despicable to them.
- We don’t have to live like that. We can heed the wisdom of the faith that overcomes fear.
- What God has for us is “exceedingly good” absolutely worth fighting for!
- If God wants to do something, He can make it happen!
- They feared the people of the land more than they trusted God.
Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.
- When the we find ourselves scared out of God’s calling, we need to trust the one who brought us this far. We need to depend on Jesus to make good on His promises.
Philippians 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
- When fear shows up and tries to cut that work short, we can lean into our faith in the one who has proven to be faithful! We can let the bell of hope ring out over the noise of doubt!
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
- God has a wonderful hope and promise for us. We are blessed, redeemed, and adopted…forever! If we rely on Him and His love, and let faith propel us into God’s purposes for us, fear will be abolished by the overwhelming love of Jesus!
1 John 4:18 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us.
Thus they told him, and said, “We went in to the land where you sent us; and it certainly does flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there. Amalek is living in the land of the Negev and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites are living in the hill country, and the Canaanites are living by the sea and by the side of the Jordan.” Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.” So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” Then all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. All the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt.” Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces in the presence of all the assembly of the congregation of the sons of Israel. Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, of those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, saying, “The land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us—a land which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.”