This year has been tumultuous. The coronavirus pandemic, the resulting shutdown of public life, an economic crisis with record levels of unemployment, incidents of police brutality and racial tensions, and urban rioting. Add to this rumors of murder hornets, meth laced alligators, and a presidential election.
We all are overwhelmed. Many want to go back to normal. Go back to the way it used to be. Others see this as an opportunity for reset. To re-evaluate our priorities. To reassess the way we relate to one another.
We all agree that the challenges we face are overwhelming. They are huge. We are facing giants we feel unable to control. We are facing giants we are afraid will crush us.
In the midst of this fear, where do we turn? Many are self-medicating. Alcohol and drug sales have skyrocketed. Comfort food is adding pounds. Suicide hotlines are overwhelmed.
Not long after Moses leads the people out of slavery through the Red Sea into the wilderness the LORD instructs Moses to send scouts to check out the promised land where they are supposed to be heading (Numbers 13).
They are sent to find out what kind of people live there? what kind environment it is? Is this a fertile place or unfruitful place. They are report back and bring some evidence of what they find.
Ten of the twelve scouts report the land is fruitful. But the land is filled with giants. These giants are powerful. The strongholds are enormous and hardened and entrenched.(Num 13:26-28)
Two of the twelve were the young men Caleb and Joshua. They agree with everything the other ten say. The land is fruitful. The land is filled with giants. The strongholds are immense, entrenched and hardboiled.
But they reach different conclusions. The ten say, “we can’t take this on. The problems are stronger than we are.”(Num 13:31) They spread this dispiriting attitude. They even exaggerate it. They make themselves look even smaller.
These men who only see through their limitations cause the rest of the community to go into panic (Num 14:1-4) The community is restless, worried and weeping out loud. They grumble against Moses and Aaron. They move onto blaming God. “Why didn’t you just kill us in Egypt? Wouldn’t it be better if we just went back to being slaves?”
Caleb and Joshua had a different vision. “We should go and take possession.” They knew they could face down the giants. They knew they could take on the hardened strongholds. They knew they could do it because the LORD promised to lead them, to take them through the giants and strongholds.
Which vision do you think won out? (Numbers 14:26-35)
As Christians we know that even death does not stand in the way of God. We have been connected to God through our baptisms “for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” (Romans 4:24-25) If God has taken down the strongholds of sin, death and the devil, we can walk in faith through any tumult. We can face any giant.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
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