If you've ever heard of IF:Equip, I know you've been challenged just as I have, to grow deeper in your faith and love of Scripture. A few months ago, IF was doing a study through Joshua. In all honesty, I'm TERRIBLE at morning devotions. I'm hoping I'll get better with age...(like a good red wine) and learn how to wake up in enough time to gather and sit with a good devotional in the morning.
Anyways, I decided to really follow along and I'm so glad I did. In talking about Joshua's leadership, we went and discovered more of the story through Numbers. God called Joshua to finish the job that Moses began. Moses had died in the wilderness and God chose Joshua to carry the baton for the Israelites the rest of the way...into the promised land.
Let's think about that for a minute. Moses was well-known and the words he spoke were God's own...what Moses said people did. Those are some BIG shoes to fill. But when God calls you, it's probably best to say "yes". So God calls Joshua and promises him that,
No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Joshua 1:5-7
That pretty much covers it. Joshua was able to see God in action throughout this trek through the wilderness...so when it was his turn to lead, He knew God could be trusted and that He did what He said He would do. With all that being said, the Israelites HAD to be tired, scared, and frustrated. They had been journeying for years in the desert with a man that led them out of Egypt and spoke as God's mouthpiece. But now, they had a different leader. Could he be trusted? Is he really going to be as faithful to the Lord as Moses? Would he lead them into the land they were promised or would they be as good as dead in the desert?
Turns out, Joshua had been leading well showing both God and the Israelites that he was a man of character. When Moses pulled 12 men from each of the tribes to "spy" out the land they would soon be occupying, only two brought back some "fruit" (positivity). Only two truly believed that God would do what He said he would all along.
Go up into the Negeb and go up into the hill country, and see what the land is, and whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many, and whether the cities that they dwell in are camps or strongholds, and whether the land i rich or poor, and where there are trees in it or not. Be of good courage and bring some of the fruit of the land. Numbers 13:17
After 40 days of spying out the land, the Israelites brought back choice fruits (grapes, pomegranates and figs) and some really bad attitudes. They found giants in the land and chose to fear what was to come rather than the God who has gone before them in everything they've experienced up to that point. The only two men with good things to say were Caleb and Joshua.
If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them. Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Numbers 14:7-10
Tough crowd...am I right or am I right?
Honestly, after reading this...I'm not sure that I would be one of the two that brought back the fruit. I'm not sure I would be one of the two that had good things to say about the place that God had been preparing for them for years. (I mean, there were literal giants that made them feel like grasshoppers?!)
This idea of "bringing the fruit" is not just about tangible fruit...it's about choosing positivity. It's about choosing to see God's provision, blessings, and faithfulness in ALL things...but especially the things that He calls us to. I want to believe that I would be able to say good things about similar things God brings me to. I want to believe that I would trust in a FAITHFUL, GREAT, FEARLESS God and leave the negativity and fear behind. But honestly, with my track record, I'm not sure. This idea of bringing the fruit and choosing positivity hit me square in the gut.
It's not that I'm not a positive person...I'm just quick to find the things to worry about, to be anxious about, and to fear. I'm quick to figure out things on my own rather than trusting in the One who brings us into His promises. And God rewards those who choose to believe in Him, who choose positivity, and those who "bring the fruit".
No one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ons, who you sad would become a prey, I will bring in, and they shall know the land that you have rejected. Numbers 14:30
And the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land, who returned and made all the congregation grumble against him by bringing up a bad report about the land–the men who brought up a bad report of the land–died by plague before the Lord. Numbers 14:36
God rewarded both Caleb and Joshua by promising them they would live to see the promised land. God rewarded Joshua's character by raising him up into leading them out of the wilderness and into the land of fulfillment.
So whatever your promised land is, whatever circumstance you're in...choose to "Bring The Fruit". It's such a process of reorienting your mind and heart around positivity and believing that God is truly good and wants good for you...but Joshua is a true example that choosing positivity pays off.
What is your promised land today and what fruit can you bring back from it?
Krista Dunbar is a 20-something pastor's wife committed to doing life with and loving the people God has placed around her. She's passionate about telling the story of God through circumstances, people, and missions. She believes we are all woven and threaded together into God's greater story...and that's the story to be told! Get to know the heart behind her words over at her blog (www.wovenandthreaded.com).
"Bring The Fruit" graphic lettered by Erin Barrett of For The Love of Letters!