Have you ever noticed that our favorite books, movies, sports, and business stories all involve people who are great risk-takers? Our heroes tend to be people who are willing to lay it all on the line in order to win.
Caleb was that kind of hero. When God’s people reached the Promised Land, 12 people were chosen to go and scout out the land. Ten of them brought back a negative report, but Caleb was one of the two who said, “We can possess the land even in the face of great odds because God is with us!” As a result, only Caleb and Joshua were allowed to enter into the Land.
I wonder what Caleb would tell us today if we ask him about the obstacles we’re facing today. Here are six principles I think he would share with us about the risks we face.
Count the Cost.
Look at what the spies where supposed to find out when they went into the land.
See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified? How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” (It was the season for the first ripe grapes.) Numbers 13:18-20
They were gathering all the facts so they knew what they were up against.
Remember your Mission.
No matter what the risks were, that didn’t change what they were supposed to do.
The Lord said to Moses, “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.” Numbers 13:1-2
Unfortunately, some of the spies thought they were supposed to make a decision based on what they thought was possible. No matter the odds, our mission never changes.
Remember the Lord.
Caleb looked at the size of his God instead of the size of the enemy. He remembered that whatever he was going through, God was with him.
Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them. Numbers 14:9
Ignore the Opinion Polls.
Every time people took a vote in the Bible, they got it wrong. 83% of the spies said the risk was too great. But Caleb stood on what he believed and what he knew to be true.
I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, Joshua 14:7
I love what God said about Caleb. He said Caleb was different and sold-out to the Lord.
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 14:24
Failure isn’t Final.
If failure wasn’t an option, then it wouldn’t be called risk-taking. it would be called “sure-thing taking.” Caleb also had the consequence of wandering around the wilderness for the next 40 years. But he knew his trouble was only temporary.
Remember the cost of not going for it.
There is also a hidden price to pay in playing it safe. For God’s people, they weren’t allowed to enter into the land God promised them until the next generation.
I think Caleb would tell us to go out on a limb because that’s where the fruit is! We can’t enjoy everything God wants for us by staying comfortable. As followers of Jesus, on mission for Him, we are called to live dangerously in the hands of God.