June 28, 2019

A Pivotal Moment

Numbers 13:25–33

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Report of the Spies

25 At the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land. 26 And they came to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the people of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh. They brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 And they told him, “We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28 However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the Negeb. The Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the hill country. And the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and along the Jordan.”

30 But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” 31 Then the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.” 32 So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. 33 And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.”

A Pivotal Moment

Key Verse | Numbers 13:30

But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, "Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it." 

Bio | Blake Holmes

My name is Blake Holmes, and I am blessed to say that the Lord captured my heart at a young age when a valet car parker shared the gospel with me. I'm certain that I heard the gospel many times before, but on that night, the Lord opened my eyes and ears and allowed me to know Him.

I am married to a godly woman who loves the Lord and encourages me to be the man the Lord has called me to be. The Lord has entrusted us with four children who keep us young and on our knees!


Central Truth

Fear hinders our obedience and threatens to rob us of God's blessings.

Devotional | Numbers 13:25–33

There comes a time in each of our lives when we reach one of those pivotal moments. It is a moment that, for better or worse, we will look back on for the rest of our lives. We will either recall such a moment...

There comes a time in each of our lives when we reach one of those pivotal moments. It is a moment that, for better or worse, we will look back on for the rest of our lives. We will either recall such a moment with a sense of pride and gratitude or with a sense of regret and frustration.

At this juncture in Israel's history, the people face one of these moments. They must choose. Will they overcome their fears and obey the Lord, or will they shrink back from entering into the promise land and forfeit the Lord's blessings?

Caleb quiets the people and implores them to enter into the land. Why was he so confident? Because he believed that the Lord would help them overcome their enemies. Notice, however, that the people aren't focused on the Lord or what He promised. Instead, they are focused on the "giants" living in the land. 

I have stood in this exact same spot many times. I've faced the choice to either move forward in faith or shrink back in fear. I remember feeling fearful when my loved one died, my house burned, I heard the doctor's bad news, and countless other times in my life.

Still today, fear directs me one way, but faith directs me the opposite way. I wrestle with fear over my future, the well-being of my kids, the direction of our country . . . and on and on. Yet, I'm reminded of the Lord who redeemed Israel from slavery in Egypt and how He has also delivered me through His Son's death and resurrection. 

Chances are, you are facing a similar situation today. The choice is yours. Will you choose to obey even when the giants loom large in the distance? Or, will you run from what the Lord has for you? Remember this: Fear hinders our obedience and threatens to rob us of God's blessings. I pray you walk in faith today.

On Monday, you will find out what the Israelites chose to do. Spoiler alert: I hope you don't follow their example.

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Discussion Questions

1. When you look back over your life, how has the Lord helped you overcome your fears and walk in faith?

2. What are you fearful of today?

3. What promises of God could you hold onto as you face your fears?

4. What will it look like for you to walk in faith rather than fear today?

14 Comments available

Michael Scaman 11 months ago

Time for a song from VBS times past. 10 said no, 2 said go https://youtu.be/avIcGgca1tU

Jessica Schoellkopf 11 months ago

Hi Blake—thank you for the devo. God’s divine appointment for you with the “ordained” valet parker in your bio reminds me that we are all ordained (a royal priesthood) in our jobs. Even as an audit consultant I have the opportunity (and task) to show people to Jesus.

(Hugh, Sue, Holly, Michael, ETC!!!..I can’t tell you how much your comments have blessed my life this year, reading them along side this devo. It’s my first year in JTJ, and I am so thankful for this resource and for your testimonies!)

ben alexander 11 months ago

Blake…Thanks for sharing.

greg jones 11 months ago


Been thinking about this chapter two days. Loved “I’m the guy” intro and face plant devotional yesterday.

Ask me about the the promise land spy story, Numbers13:25-33 is not what pops into my head (sorry mom). What pops, in less than an instant, is a complete narrative of the story with preassigned identities. To get a picture of the narrative and identity flow it’s like this.

Caleb and the spy’s resemble the characters from the Wizard of Oz in their meetings with the Wizard. 10 spy’s-no heart, no brains, definitely no courage-Tin Men, Scarecrows, and Cowardly Lions. Caleb-like Dorothy. Only different hair. And different makeup. And a different dress. And Toto is a horse…Dorothy, is Mel Gibson…is Caleb.


greg jones 11 months ago

2 of- Identity transfers. I’m Caleb in Kansas. Only in street clothes. Driving a pickup. Four wheel drive…3/4 ton 4x4. No brains, no heart, no courage is a past I do not own.

That’s my instant narrative. My 1vs5 or 2vs10 realities rarely make me feel smart, brave, or fearless in the moment. I have to identify and challenge my subconscious view of Caleb to actually be a Caleb. If I don’t, I don’t feel as though becoming 1of10 is the result for me. It’s worse, I am the giant in the land, the blind spot in my narrative.

This chapter resonates when I associate it with effective self talk. I went back and read the description of God in Exodus 20 to help understand what the spy’s were communicating.


John Hill 11 months ago

Thank you, Blake for your leadership at Watermark and the great devotional today. You “hit a cord” with me today. I am trying to trust God more and me less in the struggles I face. As I write this, our community group is studying the book of James, which brings to mind James 1:2-3. I am trying to ask, “what is God teaching or refining in me?” rather than focus on “poor me”. Proverbs 3:5-6 and Philippians 4:6-7 have become frequent prayer verses for me. I am glad that I was challenged several years ago by a friend of mine, Barry Woods, to memorize verses from the Navigators Wheel. It has made a difference in my life. I am also pleased that Watermark is committed to sharing God’s truth and making a difference in peoples lives!

greg jones 11 months ago

3 of-

The reality of making the “just trust God” decision is today’s survival vs tomorrow’s sustainability. Walk into the land tomorrow to take it-some of us will likely die. Remain outside the land tomorrow-guarantee everyone’s survival, for tomorrow. The later decision reduces anxiety, seems smart, and seems to have everyone’s best interest at heart. If those are things a person relies on God for the decision they will make is pretty predictable. On other hand, growing nation wandering in the wilderness is not sustainable. You enter the land sooner or later, but faith is different than desperation.

Questions 2-3-4 all start by having God enter into my self talk.

Q1 A twist on the central truth. Experience negatives (own them) change the past cause in the present. God has more patience with me than I do Him

Great two days of devotional, thanks to both.

carol larson 11 months ago
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Phil4:6-8 (TPT) “Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ. So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always.” Philippians 4:6-8 TPT

Angela Andrews 11 months ago

Thanks, Blake! What a fabulous reminder that when our Lord tells us clearly to do something, He wants to do it. I only happen to be the one through whom He does it. I certainly have absolutely no means of doing it on my own…If I’m not sure, He will either allow it or He has a MUCH better plan. Thanks for the reminder.

Jay Caruso 11 months ago

Thank for your words and devo/perspective Blake “Fear hinders our obedience and threatens to rob us of God’s blessings. I pray you walk in faith today.” I pray for me and my family that we walk in faith.

Sue Bohlin 11 months ago

Blake! I saw your picture and thought, “Oh boy oh boy!” And of course, you did not disappoint, because you ALWAYS come through with excellence no matter what you’re doing. Bless you for taking the mantle of the Dallas campus pastor, brother!

None of the spies explicitly mentioned the Lord in their report and assessment of what to do next, but it’s clear that Caleb (and Joshua, we’ll find out later) were trusting in Yahweh’s promise to give them the land while the rest of the spies were leaving Him out of the picture altogether. So many times, I have asked friends in crisis, “Where is the Lord in your thinking here?” because they are being like the spies, acting as functional atheists–as if God didn’t exist at all. Forgetting that a loving God is in control, and forgetting His promises, spells disaster for us.

Hope Harris 11 months ago

Great devo today Blake. Caleb saw the giants in the land and saw God as even greater. God is enough! I needed this reminder today.

Hugh Stephenson 11 months ago

Years ago when I was a new re:gen leader I was walking with other new leaders as we talked about leading groups. One of them said “I just don’t think I can do this.”. A more experienced leader stopped walking and turned to him. The group stopped and turned. The experienced leader looked at the young leader and said, “You’re right. You can’t”. Then he smiled. The whole group broke out in laughter.

The lesson for me was clear. It’s not up to me. If God tells me the land is mine, then the land is mine. It’s not for me to doubt and send in spies to make sure God is telling me the truth. Regardless of the depth of my fear or the sin or the obstacle, He calls me to be obedient (Luke 22:42), trusting in Him, (Proverbs 3:5-6), and free from anxiety, (Philippians 4:5-7).

Michael Scaman 11 months ago

One thing that made Caleb a good leader was his encouragement to others " But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it."

In the end God used Joshua and Caleb to paint a picture that the promised land is only entered by faith.

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