Thursday, August 11, 2016

Searching for Peace and Strength?

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength: - Isaiah 26:3-4

Did you know that Caleb is irrefutable proof of this verse?  You remember Caleb, right?  When God delivered the children of Israel from Egypt, He commanded them to go in and take the land.  But when Moses sent out twelve spies to scout the land, ten of them reported that there was no way they could conquer the enemies of the territory.  Two of them, on the other hand, stated that the enemy was great but that God was greater.  Those two were Joshua and Caleb.  I'm sure you know the rest of the story.  The majority won out, and the Israelites, missing their chance to enter into their Promised Land, were forced to wander in the wilderness for over forty years.

If I were Joshua or Caleb, I would have been steamed.  They believed God.  They took Him at His word, yet because of the unbelief of others, they suffered right along with everyone else. . . except they didn't, not really.  First off, all of the other people died off at some point in the wilderness, and it was actually their children that finally inherited the land.  Second, as we'll see from Caleb's lips in a second, he and Joshua were as fit in their old age as they had been in their youth.  They may not have been spared the forty years of wandering, but God didn't fail to reward their faith.

Now, what does all of this have to do with Isaiah 26:3-4?  To answer that question, I want to share with you a quote from Caleb at the time of claiming his inheritance after the forty-five years of wandering.  It's quite a speech, so pay close attention.

Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite said unto him, Thou knowest the thing that the Lord said unto Moses the man of God concerning me and thee in Kadeshbarnea. Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadeshbarnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart. Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the Lord my God. And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children's for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the Lord my God. And now, behold, the Lord hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the Lord spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in. Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the Lord spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the Lord will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the Lord said. - Joshua 14:6-12

Did you catch how many times Caleb mentioned the Lord?  I counted nine.  Nine times in that one paragraph.  It would seem to me that Caleb's mind was stayed on the Lord as it talks about in Isaiah.  And he certainly trusted the Lord, right?  So, he was at peace.  During those forty-five years of wandering, Caleb was at peace because He trusted God and knew that God was in control.  But, if you notice, the fourth verse in Isaiah goes on to talk about everlasting strength in the Lord.  Caleb exhibited that as well.  He proclaimed with his own mouth that he was as strong at 85 as he was at 40. He was ready for battle.  He was fit for war.  He was like a young man.  Everlasting strength?  Sounds like it to me.

I don't know about you, but I sure could use some peace and strength today.  My mind is abuzz with decisions, problems, activities and much more.  My body is weary from the daily stresses.  Even my spirit is tired.  Peace sounds wonderful!  Strength would be great!  So, how do we obtain those things?  We follow Caleb's example--we keep our minds on God and trust in Him.  No matter what problems or circumstances surround us, we can rest in the knowledge that God has everything under control.  We may feel like we're lost in the wilderness, but God knows exactly where we are.  He delivered the children of Israel, and He'll deliver us too.  Trust Him!

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