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March 16, 2024 | Daily Devotionals | March 16

A Different Spirit


But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him.  Psalm 4:3, ESV


From God’s perspective the spies who returned from Canaan went 2-12. Seeing that baseball season is just around the corner, that’s like batting .166. Not so good. Only Joshua and Caleb gave a positive report. The rest said it would be virtual suicide to cross the Jordan and try to possess the Land. 


Here’s a question: If God is omniscient, why did He need spies to go scout out the land? Wouldn’t he already know that the Land was flowing with milk and honey and ripe for the taking? Could it be that their journey was more about the hearts of the spies—each one representing one of the Twelve Tribes—than it was about the mission? Things got really interesting after the reports were submitted. First thing was that despite Caleb’s positive report, the majority of the Israelite camp fixated on the bad stuff. Fear infected the camp and faith fled like fog at dawn in the desert. 


And God was not happy—at all. Not just because 10 spies gave negative reports, but because the people grumbled and complained and lost faith. In fact, if you’ve ever wondered why God made them wander in the desert for 40 years, here’s His answer: “For forty years—one year for each of the forty days you explored the land—you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you” (Numbers 14:34). 


While God cursed the 10 spies with deadly plagues, He had this to say about Caleb: “But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it” (Numbers 14:14). God calls His men to have a different spirit than those in the world. A spirit that fixes its eyes on His promises amidst turmoil; a spirit that holds fast to faith even in the midst of uncertainty and darkness. 


Is it any surprise, then, that of all the spies who entered the land, only Caleb and Joshua were later allowed to cross the Jordan? Their faith is what set them apart, and it’s why we still know their names. 


Father, give me a different spirit; one that holds onto You and remains faithful during the next storm—and the one after that.

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