Our health includes many variables and one of those variables involves our perceptions of challenges and obstacles.  As I read through Numbers 13 and 14 again after writing “Coming Out of the Wilderness (Part 1), I noticed there was more truth about fear and faith.  This particular passage of scripture talks about God instructing Moses to send out spies to explore the land which He gave them.  God tells Moses to send a representative from each of the 12 tribes of Israel.  The spies where to gather fruit from the land and bring back a report.  Nowhere in the instructions which were given were they to give an evaluation of what they saw.  They were only to tell of what they saw.

While reading, I began to delve deeper into the meaning of Caleb’s name and the names in his lineage.  In the scripture speaking of twelve of the spies, the name of the tribe, it’s representative and the representative’s father is listed.  Numbers 13:6 states, “from the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneth”.  Defining the names gives great insight into Caleb and what I believe allowed him to have a different perception than all the other spies.  Caleb’s name means “faith, devotion, and wholehearted”, he represented the tribe of Judah which means “praise” and his father’s name means “nimble and beholder”.  I had to dig deeper into the meaning of “nimble and beholder”.  Nimble in reference to perception is someone who is “quick to comprehend” while beholder is a person who sees or observes someone or something.

All of this means that names in the Bible can give us greater understanding of what God is showing us.  Caleb’s character can be found in his name and his family lineage.  He had a positive gracious outlook on life and could quickly comprehend and observe things from a view of faith.  This is just my interpretation which reveals to me that Caleb was meant to face this challenge and give his report in the way that he did.  And it is a great example of how we are to perceive challenges in life.

One of the revelations I had while reading this scripture again, taught me a lesson thoroughly reading through scripture and not relying on the way a story is told.  For many years I believed there were only twelve spies which were sent.  However, I discovered there were actually thirteen.  Twelve spies were representatives of the tribes of Israel and there was one called by Moses.  This is noted in Numbers 13:16 which states, “These are the names of the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land.  And Moses called Hoshea, the son of Nun, Joshua.” Therefore, I had a totally new understanding about the importance of Caleb passing this test and the lesson it teaches us.

As I stated before, the test is about our perspective, Caleb went to view the same land as the other spies but his report was different.  The scripture says they were sent out during a season of first ripe grapes or in other words, they were sent out during a fruitful season and in it most productive time.  Part of their instructions were to bring back some fruit as well as a report but to clarify there was no evaluation to be made, only what they saw.  In Numbers 13:23 it says, they were able to carry a cluster of grapes between two of them on a pole.  I do not know about you, but I have never seen a cluster of grapes this big. When the spies returned, they said, “It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.”  What I note here is that Caleb and the spies saw the land the same way but they did not view the people in the land the same.

Caleb noted that if God is with them than they could overcome the people who were giants in the land.  However, the others said that the giants “saw them as grasshoppers”.  They were making a determination based on their perspective based on fear.  How did they know how the giants perceived them?  Did they ask them?  Did they talk to them?  Caleb saw the situation through a lens of faith while the others saw through a lens of fear.  Caleb focused on what God could do while the others focused on their own ability.  What is interesting to me in this scripture is the crowd went with the report of the eleven spies who were self-centered and fearful.  Caleb stood alone in his resolve to look to God in faith as he relied on God’s promise that the land had been given to them.  And to Caleb, God was greater than the giants he would face but this was not so for the others.

In life, we may have to go it alone and separate ourselves from what the crowd believes.  But if we just stick with God and the truth of His Word, then we will be rewarded. We will come out of our wilderness, which is the time of testing and character building noted in Deuteronomy 8:2 and enter into our promised reward.  God’s will for us is to be healed in spirit, soul, and body. But it is our responsibility to get in alignment with our perceptions and our thought life. 

In Numbers 14:1-5, when there was about to be a rebellion by the people who sided with the spies of fear, Joshua and Caleb tried to persuade the people.  They said the land was “exceedingly good land” and in Numbers 14:8-9, they said, “If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land which flows with milk and honey.  Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them and the Lord is with us, Do Not fear them.”

It is important to understand that Joshua was picked as the thirteenth spy and there is not much written about him until Caleb began to deal with the wrath of the crowd.  You see in the scripture above that Joshua, as well as Moses and his brother Aaron, sided with Caleb.  However, out of the spies Joshua was the only one.  Joshua, in the Old Testament, is one of the people (like Joseph in Genesis) who is a precursor and view of the coming Messiah who was to come during the times of the New Testament.  What I can see is, even in the all the chaos, God did not allow Caleb to stand alone. He had someone to stand by him and it happens to be someone whose name means, “the Lord is my Salvation”.

It is also in this passage of scripture where we can see what fear can do.  It is a paralyzing force which can make us revert back into a previous place of bondage instead of moving forward in faith towards God’s promises.  This astounds me because the Israelites had faced this same test before as noted in Exodus 14 where they were between their captors, the Egyptians, who were chasing them and the Red Sea which was a huge obstacle.  It seemed like there was no way out but God performed a miracle and parted the Red Sea so they could cross over to the other side on dry land. And then God used the same water He had lifted out of the way for the Israelites to utterly destroy their enemies.

They had seen God bring them out of what appeared to be impossible, yet they could not see that God could help them overcome the giants in Canaan (their promised land).  As we see fear will make you forget your past victories and make you believe you cannot overcome.  Therefore, it is important to remember you can experience one triumph and in the next minute you can experience defeat because of fear.  This story applies to our lives in so many ways.  However, in regards to health, you may see that you are in an impossible situation.  You do not know how you can come out of depression, anxiety, fatigue, low energy, weight gain, aching joints, headaches, stomach pains, or a myriad of other health concerns you may have.  But I would recommend you become like Joshua and Caleb and stand in faith for healing and improved health.

God can bring you out of where you are now but it will require some work on your part.  It will require building a new foundation of beliefs.  This new foundation will help you have more resolve to face challenges and it will give you the building blocks to make the necessary choices for healthy living.  In building this new foundation, it will be important to understand the fake from the real.  Many years ago, I heard a story as to how the FBI can tell the difference between a real dollar and a counterfeit.  The person said they know the real thing, therefore, anything else is fake. 

On our journey to the healthy place, we will have to learn what is “real” health so we are not deceived by the fake.  Next week I will share my story as an over 30-year veteran in the healthcare system.  This will lay the foundation for you to come out of the wilderness and out of deception.  I would encourage you to read the story of the Israelites (God’s chosen people) to see where you may have become stagnated by fear.  Then make a choice to come out of the wilderness and move forward towards your promised land.

Read and meditate on Exodus 13:17-22, Exodus 14:1-31, Numbers 13:1-35, and Numbers 14:1-38.

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