Fit to Fight

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

Does the title of this blog post sound familiar? It should. It’s from a 7 week series that Pastor Brandon and others taught early this year. I remember it well because of some Holy Spirit moments that occurred during the series. But this blog is about a person who was fit to fight. I’ll explain soon but first I want to let you know how this idea for the blog came about.

When I woke up this morning, I was not “fit to fight.” More truthful, it took a lot of energy just to get up. Yesterday (September 15) was a bad day for some reason. I left work thinking that I’m really no good around G.F.A. I thought, “They can easily find somebody to replace me. Maybe it’s time I just hang it up. After all, I’ve worked the equivalent of two 20 year careers in my life.” Yeah, there was a little self-pity in this, but that wasn’t the main issue. I just felt really tired, burned out, useless and yes, having a bit of self-pity going on. But I got up finally and dragged myself into work arriving about 8:30. Morning Prayer was nearly over and I was going to just go upstairs to my office. But something told me to go to prayer. So I parked my car as close to the chapel as I could and walked in. I sat in the very back of the chapel with another staff member and as I watched the prayer meeting, I was wondering why I felt the urge to come. Nothing was really going on. Then it was nearly time to end prayer meeting and one of the leaders walked up to the podium. I thought he was going to just close in prayer. But instead he did a short devotional which is usually done much earlier in the prayer meeting. In fact the leader even mentioned that things were turned around this morning. I would not have been at the meeting if the devotional was given at its normal time.

His devotional was on Numbers 13-14. Now this has always been one of my favorite passages in the Bible, mostly because of one verse that talked about Caleb. Caleb is also one of my favorite characters because of Numbers 14:24, “but My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it.” That verse has always intrigued and excited me. I first became aware of it in 2002 when I was in India. I was actually able to teach some of our trainees on it that year and have been able to teach on it again twice more since then. Every time I have taught on it, the response from the Bible school leaders and the trainees was one of excitement and I received many “praise the Lord!” from the trainees. (In India, we usually have to teach through an interpreter. “Praise the Lord” is one phrase that all the trainees can say in English and it is always accompanied by a big smile of thanksgiving and gratefulness.

So, why does this excite me so much? I need to be short here because of space limitation. Caleb was not a major Bible character. He was one of 12 spies who went to spy out the land before the Israelites were supposed to enter in and take over. But as you probably know, 10 of the 12 spies came back with a “negative report” and filled the hearts of the people with fear. Only Joshua and Caleb had a different opinion of things. Then God singled out Caleb and said that he had “a different spirit and followed God fully.” There are a few things about Caleb’s different spirit that I would like to mention. First, the Bible says he followed God fully with a full heart. Another way to say that is that he was not double-minded. Caleb trusted God. God had said the land would be inhabited by the Israelites and that was good enough. Caleb’s attitude was, God said it, let’s go for it! Second, Caleb had courage to stand alone and go against the crowd. He saw the same things the rest of the spies saw. He saw the giant and the high walls of the cities. But rather than fearing, he saw through faith that the land was already conquered. This reminds me of Hebrews 11:10 that says of Abraham, “for he was looking for the city which has foundations whose architect and builder was the Lord.” Caleb had a spirit to believe God for things that seemed impossible and that other people just could not see. Third, He did not rebel against God. He and Joshua begged the people not to rebel. They said that if the Lord was pleased with them, the inhabitants of the land would be their prey (see 14:9). Another way of saying this in our vernacular is, “we will have them for lunch!” But Joshua and Caleb were over ruled and nearly killed for their stance.

So what was Caleb’s end? He fought the enemy for 40 years but in the end, he was given his inheritance in the land just as God had promised. Caleb was 40 years old when all this started.  He went through the years of wilderness wanderings along with the rest of the people. He fought along with the new generation that went into the land. By the time Caleb received his inheritance, he was 80 years old. He said that he was as fit at 80 as he was when he was 40.

Here was a man who was fit to fight. Not just because he had a long life and was healthy, but because he had a different spirit and followed God fully. My prayer for us is that we will be known as a people who have a “different spirit and follow God fully.” What will that look like? It will be different for all of us. But I do believe it will require courage, faith and following Christ with all our heart, soul and might (Deuteronomy 6:4-5). And finally, it will take sacrifice. I fully believe that we need to be a sacrificial people if we are going to walk with God. You can’t fully follow something without sacrificing something else. I.e. you can’t become an Olympic athlete and eat a large stuff crust pizza every night for dinner. One or the other has to go. It is the same in the spiritual realm. May God humble us and show us the way to have a different spirit.

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