A Witness of Faith

The Apostle Paul had written that those that are of the day, which are the saved in Christ, should be sober and don the breastplate of faith, the helmet of the hope of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Many pastors today will not tell their congregations this. Instead they will focus on depressing the children of God by explaining that we cannot look at the men and women of old for an example.

Paul listed a number of God-fearing individuals in Hebrews 11, and he opens Hebrews 12 by explaining that because we are compassed about by these witnesses (that we could see how that they lived by faith), let us after the same manner walk by faith. These godly men and women walked by faith and conquered many spiritual giants. The giants they faced were actual giants sometimes, but the spiritual battles are not faced by fighting with flesh and blood, but by the word of God. Many so-called Christians might look down on these men of old, but the battles they faced were examples for us that any battle is not too strong, and the pressure of the world can be defeated. One such man was Caleb the son of Jephunneh. He was one of the 12 men that were sent by Moses to spy out the land of Canaan. Of course the majority of the men were frantic upon their return from spying out the land. They said that although the fruit was good-looking, that it paled in comparison to the giants and walled cities of the land. This stirred up Caleb’s spirit, for he knew that God promised them all the land, and he knew that the LORD is not slack concerning his promises, for he himself had seen the power of God in Egypt and later in the desert. So he said, “Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it” (Numbers 13:30). However, the multitude were already swayed by the wicked majority to tempt God, and God said he would not let any of the people see the land they were given, except Joshua and Caleb. They both had told the people not to rebel against the Lord, and for that the people would have stoned them if the glory of the LORD had not immediately shown in the tabernacle.

Paul points out in the Epistle to the Hebrews that because of a lack of faith and an evil heart of unbelief that the people who ignored Caleb’s exhortation died in the wilderness. Because of unbelief, it says, “They could not enter in” (Hebrews 3:19). This was rest that they lost, for they died in the wilderness. We need to believe in the word of God! Even if we see giants and fortresses, we have seen God tear these down out of our way before! Salvation through Jesus Christ tore all our walled cities of sin down, and by the word of God each child of God is made safe by the blood of Jesus Christ. Now he protects us, and gives us rest, but we must continue to believe his word. Caleb was in danger of being stoned by the wicked men. The cause was that he exhorted them to do right. I suppose that the wicked world would suggest that Caleb improperly judged these men, but a rebel needs to be recognized as a rebel, and God commended Caleb, but condemned the rest. These modern rebels cannot hear much because of stiff-necked unbelief, so give them God’s word, and pray that they hear that.

“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it” Hebrews 4:1

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