February 28th Devotion

Committed and Consistent – Alistair Begg

I wholly followed the Lord my God. And Moses swore on that day, saying, “Surely the land on which your foot has trodden shall be an inheritance for you and your children forever, because you have wholly followed the Lord my God.” Joshua 14:8-9

Many people get off to a flying start in life only to later lose whatever it was that once made them successful. Perhaps they were well known as a young man or woman. At the age of 40, their life was one of prominence, influence, and status. In the church, we can see such individuals—indeed, we can see ourselves—as supremely useful to God. But too often we are then tempted to become masters of yesterday, frequently looking back to the “good years” and grumbling about the way things have become.

Although it’s true of so many, this was not at all true of Caleb, who fled from potential apathy and kept on in faith. He spent his middle years in a less than desirable environment. From the age of 40, he was stuck wandering around the wilderness for four decades because the people around him had failed to have faith in God. Yet during this time of frustration and wanderings, Caleb remained free of embitterment and disgruntlement.

In fact, things eventually got so bad that the people began to look for a leader to take them back to the good old days (Numbers 14:4). Yet no one really needs a leader to go backward; you can just go back! We need leaders to push us forward. There is a tomorrow. There are generations yet to come. There are purposes yet to be unfolded in God’s plan for our world.

Caleb reveals this spirit. The apparent commitment of his early life was matched by his consistency in the middle years. He was committed and consistent not only at 40 but also at 50 and 60 and 70. Throughout the decades, he “wholly followed the LORD.”

For many, marriage, the establishment of a home, business concerns, health issues, and so on are often accompanied by a loss of spiritual ardor and effectiveness. Many are those who have great resources, energy, and wisdom to offer but who decide instead to chill out, leaving the work of ministry to the next generation. Like the Israelites in the wilderness, they settle for disinterest, criticism, and cynicism, failing to see the disintegration in their own spiritual lives.

What about your commitment, your conversations, and your spiritual edge? Are they the same as they once were? There is a great need in the church today, as there was in Israel’s wilderness generation, for experienced men and women of faith who live lives marked by consistent commitment, in good times and bad, in season and out, as through the years they walk toward the inheritance that the Lord has promised His faithful followers. What will that look like for you today—and in ten years?

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