Looking Towards Salvation
I believe that our knowledge of God’s Way of Salvation can be strengthened by everything that happens every day of our lives. We can strongly control whether or not we view the individual details in our lives in God’s way.
Let us lay a foundation for this by looking at 2 Corinthians 4:6 and 18. We have to look at the temporal and see its spiritual lessons which will help us understand God’s way better and also follow more closely in our Master’s footsteps. All the time looking and searching for spiritual lessons, instead of dwelling upon that which can so easily be a depressing situation.
I came across a proverb recently: “Look not with your eyes for they see only limitations. Instead look with your understanding and you will see much more.” So the men of faith in Hebrews 11 were commended for their spiritual vision: their ability to see God’s purpose, which they allowed to work in their lives.
Before we turn to Hebrews let us remember the words of our Master: “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:37). Are we working to prepare for the return of our Lord? Building an ark of safety? An ark of love, of loving appreciation of what God has done for us? An ark with dimensions declared in terms of love (Ephesians 3:17-19).
Look then at Hebrews 11:7. Notice, “things not seen as yet.” This was the basis of Noah’s reaction – verses 8-10. Abraham “went out” (of a city) to dwell “in tents”, yet he was “looking for (an eternal) city” – verse 27. Moses saw “him who is invisible” – verse 13. These died “having seen” these promises “afar off.” I want you now to try and capture the spirit of this spiritual vision as we look at Numbers 13:12. “Every one a ruler” (R.V. a prince). These should have been men of vision. Ten saw giants. Two saw little men. The attitude of those who saw giants (v 33) was the basis on which Hebrews 3:19 records “so we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” We are brought to realize that according to how we look, so our problems can loom large, or appear insignificant.
Some of the background to their journey is seen in Numbers 11:5,6. Their eyes were set on what they had left behind. They were looking downwards, as well as backwards, for their thoughts were on those fruits which grow in or on the ground. Compare this with what God had promised to them – Deuteronomy 8:8. God wanted them to look forwards and upwards towards all that He had promised. The fruits mentioned here all grow above the ground. What did Jesus say in Luke 21:28? He could well have had this situation in mind. “Look up, lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” It is clear that ten of the spies failed in this. So we want to think about Numbers 13:23,24. All twelve men had shared the burden of carrying these samples of the truth of God’s promise that He would lead them to a land flowing with milk and honey. Ten of them learned nothing. Their eyes were still downwards, wishing for what had been. Fearful of giants all the way. It is clear that Joshua and Caleb were looking up. They were not afraid of “little men”. They were thinking about the promise of this good land, about the wonder of God’s promises.
They all took of the (burden) of carrying the vine’s fruit, but only two of them saw this as the fruit of the vine. So near and yet so far. We must make sure that we follow in the steps of Joshua and Caleb as we take the emblems.
Because of their spiritual vision, Joshua and Caleb also saw a lesson in the myriads of “what-is-it” (manna) – Exodus 16:15. On the next day they attempted, again, to guide the children of Israel in God’s way – Numbers 14:9. Think about this verse as you read it. Would not Joshua and Caleb say “Manna” instead of “Bread”? The word ‘defence’ has a margin note (Hebrew – ‘shadow’). Read then this verse in this way: “Neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are manna for us: their shadow is departed from them.” What happened to the manna when the sun was up? “It melted away” (Exodus 16:21).
Bro Stanley Blackstone (UK)