Joshua and Caleb Challenge Us

Are You Devoted to Following God?

One of our Short Devotions

disinterested audience

Joshua and Caleb faced this same attitude

I heard a business consultant tell about the training he was doing for a company’s employees. After 15 minutes, he could tell that everyone was totally disinterested. He stopped his session and said to the entire group, “You aren’t going to implement any of these ideas are you?” Finally one employee said, “No we’re not.” “Why not?” the speaker asked. The employee said, “Because we don’t want to, and they can’t make us.” In no way were they devoted to the consultant's cause.

No Way!

God told Moses to “send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites.” (Numbers 13:1) When they returned and gave their report to the people, ten of the twelve leaders said, “We can’t do it. The people are too big.” All of the people believed this bad report and said, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.” (Numbers 14:4) The Israelites were in effect saying “We don’t want to and you can’t make us.”

What they probably didn’t realize is that God took that personally. God concluded that they had quit following Him. God said to Moses, “They have treated me with contempt. They have tested my patience ten times. They have lost confidence in my power and my leading.”

God's Response

In light of this, God’s initial response was to destroy all of them and start over, but Moses begged God not to do that. So, in effect God said, “Ok Moses, tell the people that I am not abandoning them, but I’m done leading them. Everyone who is age 20 and over will die in the wilderness – except Joshua and Caleb because they have a devoted spirit. They have followed me wholeheartedly.” Joshua and Caleb were the only two who knew what God wanted and were willing to follow His leadership. They were devoted to God despite being in the minority.

What does God do with a Christian who has quit following Him? He never stops loving him, but after a while, he stops leading him. What does God do with a church that has quit following Him? He never stops loving that church, but after a while, he stops leading them. What does God do with a nation that has quit following Him? He never stops loving that nation, but after a while he stops leading them.

Trust and Devotion

Perhaps many people in the United States who claim to be Christians have quit following Jesus. God sees our hearts. He knows who is devoted to his purposes, and who has quit following. Following Jesus is a choice that requires wholehearted commitment. Are you willing to stand for what God wants regardless of the opposition? He is worthy of our trust and devotion.
photo courtesy of Glen Van Etten

Want to know what Jesus asks of his followers?
Read What's Missing Inside You?

More about loyalty to Jesus.

Author: Paul Schlieker

Discussion ideas for your small group or Sunday School class:

1. First read the whole Bible story in Numbers 13:1,17-14:38.

2. Tell about a time when you tried to lead people who would not follow.

3. What attitudes present themselves when a person isn't following God?

4. What is the difference between doing things that God asks and being totally devoted to God?

5. How do you know when you are committed to following God?

6. Share with the group what keeps your commitment level high.

Joshua and Caleb knew that God was an expert in Achieving the Impossible. Continue your study of Numbers 13.

One of our Old Testament Bible studies.

Listen to the audio sermon, Imagine the Possibilities based on this same text.

Use this Sunday School lesson to challenge others to be a disciple of Jesus.

For any reuse or distribution of our free Bible study materials author credit and web address is required.

Please email us with questions or comments.

Paul Schlieker, Platinum Author

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