But my servant Caleb - this is a different story. He has a different spirit; he follows me wholeheartedly. I’ll bring him into the land that he scouted and his children will inherit it.
(Numbers 14:24, MSG paraphrase)
Frontline People are full of faith!
Have you noticed that? Whether it's Marcus Rashford as he champions dinners for kids, our teachers who give their all to nurturing and developing our children in these tough times, or our Frontline NHS hospital staff currently battling in the trenches of COVID 19. Trusting, believing, taking risks and a sincere allegiance to a cause is a mark of those who make a difference on the Frontline, where your influence changes things around you. Making the world a better place.
Jubilee, we too are Frontline people. We might not look it always. You might think ‘that’s really not me. What have I got to offer?’ But…….
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things - and the things that are not - to nullify the things that are. It is because of [your faith in] him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God...
(1 Corinthians 1:26-30)
In Christ you have been released into Frontline purpose, empowered by God himself the Holy Spirit…therefore you are more than conquerors through him who loved us (Roman 8:37).
I enjoy reading about bible heroes because they help us to see the weakness of ourselves and the greatness of God. In short, they inspire faith, but a different kind of faith. Not a faith in ourselves, but something (or rather someone) more certain. Someone more powerful. Faith in God. Caleb in the bible is an example of faith. Over the years I have loved listening and reading to Terry Virgo’s talks on various bible heroes. Caleb is one of those God-fearing individuals.
So who is Caleb? Well, back in Numbers 13 and 14 we read of how Moses chose 12 men, one from each tribe of Israel, ‘each one a tried-and-true leader in the tribe….to scout out the country of Canaan’. Caleb was one of them - these guys were all heroes of their day.
And the story goes that despite them all hearing the very same promises of God, despite them seeing the very same things together when they went out to spy out the promised land that God had given them, Joshua and Caleb were the only ones who looked at the situation with eyes of faith. All the others brought back a bad report. All the others made the hearts of the people melt in fear.
So what was so different about Caleb, because he didn't bring back a bad report? In fact, his words were ones of victory. What was it about his character, his thinking, his actions that made faith flow in and through him? Without faith it is impossible to please God.
God wants us to see things with his perspective. He wants us to make sense of what is going on around us with eyes of faith not fear. You see these other sons of Israel scared people about stories of giants and ferocious tribes. But the tragedy was this. That wasn't the truth. That wasn't reality. Rahab tells us what the enemies really thought! “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country [Canaan] are melting in fear because of you. It was the other way round.
Getting things into perspective. Seeing things how God does. Trusting His prophetic promise and stirrings help us to be like Caleb!
You see in Numbers 13 and 14 that when Caleb brings his faith-filled report, the other 10 sons of Israel and those in allegiance to them, start kicking off. ‘Who do you think you are Moses?’ They start doubting God’s promises. Up in arms now, the entire community was talking of hurling stones at Caleb, Joshua and Moses. ‘We can do this better without you.’
But Caleb is different. He could have quite easily got on the band wagon and had a go at Moses too. He could have put him down. But rather He says in Joshua 14, “Moses the man of God…..Moses the servant of the Lord’. What a beautiful spirit!
Proverbs 12:18 warns us “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
Jubilee, God calls us to be humble and gracious to one another! Faith doesn't grow in an arrogant heart or an opinionated heart, putting others down or being difficult. It’s about not being so strong in our own opinions, registering what others are saying, acknowledging that we are not always right and not being destructively critical.
We see it, don't we, when the centurion in Mathew 8 comes to Jesus for healing - he says “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.” even though he's a man of great power. How does Jesus respond? Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. Wow!
That was the quote from Numbers 14:24 at the start.
God is seeking wholehearted men and women to partner with Him on the Frontline. Who are on fire for Him. Who are not distracted by this and that. Who don't make excuses. Who pray earnestly. Who don't just see church as going through the motions to a form of entertainment. Not just people-pleasers either. But rather people having a passion, a zeal and an enthusiasm rooted in a love and joy in God.
The bottom line is that wholeheartedness is costly. Life on the Frontline is sacrificial.
Caleb resonated with the promise that had stirred them for generations going way back to Abraham - he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. God is on our side.
We too have a promise going into this new Post COVID season, don't we?
“Enlarge the place of your tent,
stretch your tent curtains wide,
do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
your descendants will dispossess nations
and settle in their desolate cities
We might not see it all yet. We might never see it all. But neither did Caleb. However, we know, don't we, that faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (Hebrews 1:1)
We Go…because God is our Father. We are motivated by grace, not guilt. You are loved by God! Do you hear that? Jubilee, God says, ‘My delight is in you.’ (Isaiah 62:4).
And that’s where faith explodes into action! Why don't we all resolve together to….Be A Caleb!
As we come out of our Covid restrictions and look into the next season for us as Jubilee, I wanted to take this time to share some news with you regarding our next steps as a church.
This month, we're privileged to have Michael Akotia write a blog for us. Michael along with his wife Mabel and three children (John, Keziah and Grace) are dear friends to us. Michael leads City of Grace Church in Ho, Ghana and serves on the Christ Central Churches International Team.
Have you ever thought that there might actually be a number of similarities between our Christian walk and baking a cake? Gavin explores some of these similarities in this month's Elders letter!
So Sunday saw the finale of series 6 of the BBC drama Line of Duty. If you haven't been watching it or have watched the latest series then you can read on. If you still plan to watch the final installment of series 6, you may want to stop here (although it's not a huge spoiler)!