Do you seek the acceptance of others when you make decisions? You’re not alone. Many men seek approval by often siding with the majority viewpoint. Unfortunately, in our world system, the majority viewpoint seldom gives God and his Word much consideration.
Caleb, however, was a man who saw things from God’s perspective and stood against the majority opinion. Do you remember his story? He was among the twelve spies who entered Canaan. Ten of these spies–a clear majority–believed that the Promised Land couldn’t be conquered. They came back with stories of impregnable walled cities defended by terrible giants. They told the people the task was hopeless, letting their fears and the majority opinion decide the course of action. But Caleb, along with Joshua, differed with the majority. Caleb agreed that Canaan was well fortified and the task formidable. But he also believed that even the greatest of enemies was no match for the mighty God of Israel. He urged the people to believe in God’s promises.
Sadly the people followed the majority opinion and refused to enter the Promised Land. It’s easy to focus on the obstacles in our own lives–all those things that make change seem impossible. But you and I can learn from Caleb. When the situation appeared hopeless, he knew that victory could come by seeking the God who promised victory. Caleb knew that self-worth isn’t found in the approval of other people, but only in the loving eyes of God.
David and Jonathan were committed to being channels of life to one another–which is amazing since under most circumstances these two would have been archrivals!
Do you remember their story? Jonathan was the son of King Saul–the heir to the throne. David was a young shepherd boy–chosen by God to take King Saul’s place as king. This wasn’t because Jonathan lacked the character to be king but because his father Saul didn’t love or trust God. On the contrary, when you read about Jonathan you will see in particular a man of great character. He wanted to honor his father. Yet he loved his friend David.
How could such a friendship evolve or survive? Their friendship was born of the fact that both Jonathan and David love the Lord. Both trusted in God’s goodness. So when life became complicated–like when Saul was trying to hunt down David and kill him–both David and Jonathan trusted in the Lord and his promises. Only through the gift of spiritual friendship–a friendship rooted in God’s love and wisdom–could this be possible.
David and Jonathan made a covenant to under gird and support their friendship. We aren’t given the specifics of the covenant, but it certainly included their commitment to God and to each other. If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll consider taking steps to initiate this sort of friendship.
Although men tend to feel as if they can save themselves, there are times when it’s very clear that we cannot. These times often come when you’re facing overwhelming pressures with your wife or kids, your job, or your finances. So what is a man to do?
Let’s consider a man who went before you and I: King Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat was once under attack by three armies. Do you ever feel like you’re being attacked from all sides? You may be tempted to give in and surrender or to muster every human resource you can find. Neither of these reactions, however, is pleasing to God. Instead, God desires to use these situations to remind you that you are sustained not by your own cleverness but by his power. You are delivered not by your ability but by his mercy.
King Jehoshaphat understood this truth. His reaction to the threatening armies was to call everyone in Judah to fast. Instead of merely calling his people to military exercises and preparation, King Jehoshaphat called them to spiritual exercises. Instead of fattening their bodies, he called them to nourish their souls. Instead of looking to their own defenses, he called them to trust in God’s protection.
Because we must have food to live, physical hunger is one of the most powerful drives of life. When you fast, however, you begin to realize that all the food in the world can never satisfy the hunger of your soul. Only God himself can satisfy this longing.