Does my relationship with God produce faith and help me conquer fear?
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Nelson Mandela
Fear comes in many forms: nervousness, panic, anxiety, and doubt, to name a few. In this study, we’ll learn how to conquer our fears by building real faith. The story of Caleb and Joshua in Numbers 13 teaches us that a great relationship with God produces faith and this faith conquers fear.
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What are you reporting?
After exploring the land for forty days, the men returned to Moses, Aaron, and the whole community of Israel at Kadesh in the wilderness of Paran. They reported to the whole community what they had seen and showed them the fruit they had taken from the land. 27 This was their report to Moses: “We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces. 28 But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak!Numbers 13:25-28
These men explored the land God had blessed them with, but after exploring the land for 40 days, they returned and reported a variety of fears.
- What overflows from you to people around you? Fear or faith?
As we will see in the rest of the story, a great relationship with God produces faith, not fear.
- What are you “reporting”? If someone spends time with you, would they walk away more faithful or more fearful?
Does your relationship with God produce faith?
But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!”Numbers 13:30 NLT
Caleb saw the same land as those in the previous verses, but he had a different view. After he explored the land, he reported back with confidence and faith in God. His faith in God made him fearless.
How do you tend to influence people around you? Do people walk away from time spent with you more faithful and confident than they were before?
- What do you think your level of fear reveals about your relationship with God?
The absence of faith, the impact of fear
Numbers 13:31-33 NLT
31 But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” 32 So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. 33 We even saw giants[a] there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!”
A great relationship with God produces faith not fear. These “other men” brought back to the people a report laced with fears. As a result, this “bad report” of fear had a negative impact on the people.
Then the whole community began weeping aloud, and they cried all night. 2 Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest against Moses and Aaron. “If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!” they complained. 3 “Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” 4 Then they plotted among themselves, “Let’s choose a new leader and go back to Egypt!”Numbers 14:1-4 NLT
Look at the impact fear had on the people. Fear produced regret, bitterness, doubts and deceit.
- What is the impact of your fear on your family, friends and those around you?
A relationship with God produces faith
6 Two of the men who had explored the land, Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, tore their clothing. 7 They said to all the people of Israel, “The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! 8 And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. 9 Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!”
How did twelve men get chosen to explore the land God had given them, and only two returned with faith while ten returned with fear? Joshua and Caleb chose to focus on God and his power instead of focusing on the people and the problems.
- Are you more like the 10 or the 2? What do you need to change in your relationship with God in order to produce faith and conquer fear?
1 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me disrespectfully and reject Me? And how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the [miraculous] signs which I have performed among them?Numbers 14:11 AMP
Here, God is communicating to Moses how he feels about his relationship with the Israelites and their treatment of him. When we choose fear over faith, God feels our disrespect and rejection.