Looking at what’s going on in the world with Coronavirus, hopefully hope is a word that will build, edify and bless you.
There’s a character in the Old Testament that I love. His name is Caleb. He’s kind of a hero of mine. To give some context, the Israelites had just come out of Egypt. They came through the Red Sea; had the miracles of God attending their footsteps; and they were on the verge of entering the promised land, with a word from God to go and possess the land. Jericho was across the river from where they were in Kadesh Barnea. In this context, God commanded Moses to raise up twelve men to go into Canaan to spy out the land. Moses choose one man from each of the twelve tribes. Caleb and Joshua were two of the spies assigned by Moses to go into Canaan and look it over for 40 days.
Moses commissioned these twelve men to spy out the land and to bring back a report. When they returned, the spies gave two completely different reports to a crowd of three million Israelites. Joshua and Caleb presented a positive report, and other ten spies presented a bad report. The negative spies stood up and reported on the giants! Caleb and Joshua shared what they saw –the opportunity to possess the land. It was an amazing contrast in views.
I would suggest to you that it’s very possible for people to look at the same situation but have completely different interpretations. Today, the Coronavirus is rapidly spreading around the world. Stock markets are fluctuating, going up and down every day. We’re hearing stories of the leaders of nations who’ve caught the virus, such as Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the UK. Things are not looking good. But, in light of all this, I have an important word of caution for all of us to hear. We have to be careful what we see. Let me say that again. We have to be careful what we see. Who’s report will we believe?
When the twelve spies returned to Moses, they said the land flowed with milk and honey. They even brought back with them a huge cluster of grapes that two men had to carry on their shoulders with a pole between them. But, there was a big difference in how they viewed the land. Ten spies said, “We saw the land is very good. It’s a land that flows with milk and honey.” But they also said, “We saw the giants in the land.” And worst of all they said: “And we were as grasshoppers in our sight. And so were we in the eyes of the giants.” They saw themselves as grasshoppers in the presence of giants.
Caleb and Joshua, though, saw a completely different scenario. They said, “We can possess the land. We can go up and take it right now.” But, sadly, the Israelites followed the advice of the majority and forfeited the promise of God that they could take the land. As punishment, they were given 40 more years of desert wandering, one year for every day the spies were in the promised land.
One of the reasons I admire Caleb is that even at the age of 85 years old when Joshua offered him an inheritance, Caleb responded: “Give me the land of the giants. I’ll take the city of the giants and I will establish the kingdom of God for Israel in that area.” And that’s exactly what Caleb! Caleb was a real character. I admire his vision and perseverance. All twelve of the spies saw giants. Ten of them saw grasshoppers; two of them saw God.
We are responsible for how we interpret our times. Our God is bigger than Coronavirus. Our God is bigger than financial collapse. The God of victory is on our side. Let that be your word from me today. They that be with us are more than they that be with them. We’ll win this battle in Jesus’ name. Learn to hope in God. Stand in your hope in God. Learn to see with the eyes of hope. That’s the message. Look with the eyes of hope in Jesus’ name.