April 13, 2009 Ration

Numbers 14:24

“But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it.”

Caleb had a different spirit, one that followed the Lord fully.

When sent by the Lord to spy out the land that the Lord was going to give them, Caleb saw the same bounty that the other spies saw: the land was rich, the people were strong, the cities were large and well fortified. It was “an exceedingly good land” (14:7)! But Caleb, and Joshua, had a different spirit than the rest of the scouts. They understood that the Lord sent them to spy it out because the Lord was sending them to conquer it. This would be the Lord’s doing, not their doing. This was their spirit, but not the others’.

Artists, what is your spirit? Is it different from the others’, different from the world’s? Does your spirit follow the Lord fully? Fully? This is the greatest work and discipline that we can attend to in the arts: to shape our spirit to fear the Lord alone.

The Lord is the one who establishes our paths. Ours is to be faithful in spirit. The Lord is the one who cut us artistic. Ours is to be faithful in spirit. The Lord is also the one who cuts off the faithless. Ours is most definitely to be faithful in spirit.

Did the Lord ask the spies to bring report about the land as if the Lord needed to know what it was like? No. The spying was for the people. The spying was for the sifting of affections. The spying was to prove who followed the Lord fully. The Lord simply said, “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel” (13:2). God is giving it to them. They could have been children or grasshoppers (as they felt to be among the giants). It didn’t matter. God was giving the land to them not because of their strength, but because of God’s pleasure and intent to give it to those who feared Him! Abraham feared Him. Abraham’s God-fearing descendants would possess it.

Caleb’s spirit cried out to the people, “Let us go up at once to occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it” (13:30). To be absolutely clear, what did Caleb believe made them well able; their practice, their materials, their reputation, their might, their resolve? He tells us. “If the LORD is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us--a land which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the LORD; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them” (14:8-9).

This is the spirit that we must have, artists: one that fears the Lord alone, not the size and strength of the obstacle or opposition; one that follows the Lord alone, not the faithless pessimism of the many cowards’ cries; and one that encourages others with the strength of the Lord alone, not the seeming strength of a man’s plan to return to former sureties. If your spirit truly desires to enjoy what the Lord desires to give you, then your spirit must follow the Lord fully. This is the spirit of Caleb. Sadly enough, it is known as a “different” spirit.

Artists, no doubt this is a different spirit than what you are surrounded by in the arts. How many play with arts’ fruits, but never possess its fullest pleasures as from the Lord – a gift to them? Let not the fear of men, nor the fears of other men, make you feel teased by the Lord’s direction and charge for your life (14:3). If the Lord says He has something for you, then play the man, and in His strength, occupy it! In this way, consider your descendants.

God, give us the spirit that you gave Caleb and Joshua! One that is different. One that listens to and trusts in You alone in the arts, and in all that an artist’s life entails. It truly is a beautiful land that can be possessed, when, by You, we are its possessor.

Jason Harms.


© 2009 The Gaius Project