When I was young, my dad would “scare” us by hiding in the bush and growling like a lion. Even though we lived in rural Ghana in the 1960s, it was almost impossible that a lion lurked nearby. My brother and I would laugh and seek out the source of the noise, thrilled that playtime with Dad had arrived.
One day a young friend came for a visit. As we played, we heard the familiar growl. Our friend screamed and ran. My brother and I knew the sound of my father’s voice—any “danger” was merely a phantom lion—but a funny thing happened. We ran with her. My dad felt terrible that our friend had been frightened, and my brother and I learned not to be influenced by the panicked reaction of others.
Caleb and Joshua stand out as men unfazed by the panic of others. As Israel was poised to enter the Promised Land, Moses commissioned 12 scouts to spy out the region. They all saw a beautiful territory, but 10 focused on the obstacles and discouraged the entire nation (Num. 13:27-33). In the process, they started a panic (14:1-4). Only Caleb and Joshua accurately assessed the situation (vv. 6-9). They knew the history of their Father and trusted Him to bring them success.
Some “lions” pose a genuine threat. Others are phantoms. Regardless, as followers of Jesus our confidence is in the One whose voice and deeds we know and trust.
Lord, we face many fears today. Help us distinguish between real danger and empty threats, and help us trust You with all of it. May we live not in fear, but in faith.
The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion. Proverbs 28:1
Twelve spies were sent to survey the land (Num. 13:17–20). They reported that the cities were well fortified and the people were of such great size that the spies felt like grasshoppers (vv. 28–33). This instilled fear and mistrust in the Israelites (14:1–4; Josh. 14:8). But Joshua and Caleb encouraged the people to trust God for protection (Num. 14:9).