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.”
The Lord had promised them freedom from slavery, which He delivered in a spectacular fashion; they’d all witnessed the power and favor of Jehovah first hand, in ways that no other people of the earth had before, but just before claiming the promise, they replaced His vision with their own, their doubt for His assurance, and His good pleasure to deliver them into a land of no lack with a desert experience full of hardship and death.
They are not alone. Example after example is offered to us that when we are called to do the work of the Living G-d, we do not often give Isaiah’s reply, but rather that of Moses.
10 Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”
14 Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”
15 So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”
Or the army of Israel:
1 Samuel 17:8-11
8 Then (Goliath) stood and cried out to the armies of Israel, and said to them, “Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and you the servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. 9 If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” 10 And the Philistine said, “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.” 11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.
It is now no less fearful for us, whom the Savior has now called out of the world to finish the work of the Kingdom of Heaven, to do the will of the Father, which hasn’t changed, and to enter in to rest, rule, and reign with Him in the work of praising the Father forever, and dwelling in peace among ourselves.
Who wouldn’t want that? Who wouldn’t work for that? Who wouldn’t we tell about that, so they could come with us?
But we have an enemy, and our flesh doesn’t desire that which makes it uncomfortable, for as we have a Savior who has chosen us for Kingdom work, He paid a terrible cost, as did His disciples, even to this day. But the suffering had an end, and He now sits in inconceivable power and glory at the Father’s right hand.
We must go through one to get to the other, so our Teacher tells us to count the cost, deny ourselves, die to ourselves, take up a daily cross, and follow Him down the Narrow Way.
Our Savior reassures us: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” (John 14:1)
So too, did G-d reassure His servants, telling them He would fill their mouths, be with them, instruct them, guide them, and answer them. The phrase, as it pertains to actual fear, and not the reverence of the Lord, occurs 103 times.
G-d knows what He created, and well does he know our hearts, spirits, and minds. How could it not be so, if the hairs on our heads are numbered, and the length of our days set from the beginning.
If, as the Word says, we are wilting flowers, withering grass, vapors, breaths, fleeting, and our spirits not reconciled to G-d, we are better off trusting and accepting that which God will do through us by faith.
We are marked men and women, and the call is irrevocable. It is we who turn back, run away, and hide from it in our frailty.
G-d would have it that you answer the call, and enter into His rest through faith in the atoning work of His Son, who tells us there is already space:
2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2)
A house that contains mansions…. the G-d we serve, and love, and worship, is bigger than that.
Don’t make yourself small in His sight.
Therefore I pray:
Father in Heaven,
I confess today, I have not always stepped forward with Isaiah’s desire to be sent to do Your will. My response has been one of fearful doubt, or I pretend not to hear, and go blithely on until I reach the dead end, crouch down at the end of the alley, and wait for darkness to hide me from Your sight. I hope the whole time it isn’t true that You see at midnight as You do at noonday, though I know it is.
Create in me a renewed heart of flesh, and not stone. Make my spirit right, make it as fertile soil where Your word takes root. Give me ears to hear, and in hearing, a will and heart to understand.
I would not be tossed into the sea as Jonah, or given over to my enemies like Sampson, or give another my glory like Barack.
Replace my quavering spirit with Yours, my fast-beating, fearful heart with Yours, my hating, angry emotions with Your peace, my compromising with Your steadfastness, my backsliding with Your resolve to drink from the cup.
I lay my life down to You today, right now, as an imperfect fleece, dry and knotted, full of spots and stains and blemishes, and I say to You today, right now, water it with the dew of Heaven, and purify it for Your glory, and to Your purposes.
I would like to say that on the peak of this mountain, where You see a mighty warrior imbued with the power of the Holy Spirit, I will not have to ask again, but I know I will.
And the beauty of knowing You is that You know it too, and will answer when I call.
Blessed be the Name of the Lord.
May it be done to me as You have said.