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Thought for the weekend

Rev Gareth Burke



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'In Numbers 13, we read of Moses sending out 12 men into the land of Canaan to spy out the land and to return and report to him what kind of place it was. It was a "risk assessment".' (Dave Thompson/PA)

'In Numbers 13, we read of Moses sending out 12 men into the land of Canaan to spy out the land and to return and report to him what kind of place it was. It was a "risk assessment".' (Dave Thompson/PA)

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'In Numbers 13, we read of Moses sending out 12 men into the land of Canaan to spy out the land and to return and report to him what kind of place it was. It was a "risk assessment".' (Dave Thompson/PA)

I recently received an email from a young lady in my congregation. She and her fiance are soon to be married and she was sending me the "risk assessment" for their wedding ceremony.

Such are the times we are living in. It seems to me that just about everything we do and every function we attend just now is undergoing a risk assessment.

In Numbers 13, we read of Moses sending out 12 men into the land of Canaan to spy out the land and to return and report to him what kind of place it was. It was a "risk assessment".

On returning to Moses, the spies were all agreed on what they had seen. It was a prosperous and fruitful land - "It flows with milk and honey" (Numbers 13:27).

However, at this point, a division arose between the 12 men, who had for 40 days visited the land of Canaan. Ten of them were reluctant for the children of Israel to proceed any further and to make any attempt to conquer the land.

They felt that the cities were fortified, the people were strong and they had even seen giants in the land. In their assessment, the obstacles were too great.

Two of the men - Joshua and Caleb - didn't disagree with this, in the sense that they had also observed the obstacles and difficulties, but their response was different. "We are well able to overcome," Caleb declared.

Was he foolhardy, reckless and foolish? No. His was the response of faith.

He saw the obstacles, but believed that God was able to help his people, empower them and enable them to overcome.

Faith is seeing the problems and then believing that God is greater than our problems.

Faith is holding on to the promises of God, even though the obstacles seem insurmountable.

If you are a Christian, if you have a personal, living faith in Jesus Christ, then I would encourage you in these strange and difficult days to respond like Caleb and Joshua.

Don't bury your head in the sand. Don't pretend that the difficulties aren't really there.

Face up to reality, but recognise that, if Jesus is our Saviour, God is with us. He can help us. Say with Caleb, "We are well able to overcome".

Belfast Telegraph