Bible Study with Jairus – Numbers 14
Understanding the Power of the Soul Through Numbers 14
When reading Numbers 14, we come across what at first appears to be an inconsistency in the text. Why is it that verse 24 (ESV) says, “But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it,” but in verse 30 (ESV) it says, “Not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun.” Why would the Lord say two different things? Why did He only name Caleb the first time He spoke, but mentioned both Caleb and Joshua the second time? Does this have any spiritual significance?
My thinking is that God had a different target audience and setting when he was speaking. The first time the Lord spoke, He spoke to Moses alone. The beginning of verse 11 says, “The Lord said to Moses…,” revealing that this was a private conversation between the Lord and Moses. Numbers 11:28 (ESV) says, “Joshua the son of Nun, the assistant of Moses from his youth…,” indicates that Joshua was chosen by Moses. Moses was a man of God. He chose Joshua. So it stands to reason that Moses would have spoken with the Lord about his assistant. Numbers 13:16 (ESV) says, “Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun Joshua.” This verse is also very interesting. “Hoshea” means “salvation.” “Joshua,” in the original Hebrew text, is the name “Jesus” in Greek, which means “The Lord has become our salvation.” Therefore, Joshua, who was chosen by Moses, led the Israelites into the Promised Land through battle, which is a representation of Jesus, the commander of our salvation, when he waged spiritual battle against death, hell, and the grave. Today, this warrior against our enemies, our “inner Joshua,” if you will, can represent our spirit. He will help us win victory when we turn to our spirit and call for help.
I think that in the context of verse 24, the reason why the Lord did not mention Joshua to Moses was not because He excluded Joshua; rather, because the minds of God and Moses are in sync.
But at the beginning of verse 26, it is recorded that “the Lord said to Moses and Aaron.” Here the Lord was publicly commanding Moses and Aaron to tell all the Israelites that only Caleb and Joshua could enter the Promised Land, and that every other person would perish in the wilderness. This is was a message for the whole nation of Israel. Naturally, He had to make His plan clear to everyone, so there is no inconsistency in what He said.
What is Our “Inner Caleb?”
If Joshua represents our spirit, then Caleb represents the strongest part of our soul, or the good part of God’s original creation. Our “inner Caleb” must rise up and fight to help our spirit obtain the victory in our spiritual battles. The soul is very powerful. Paul’s words in Romans 8:6 (ESV) are a good proof of just that. He said, “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” If the thoughts in our soul (which are represented by Caleb) can help our spirit (which is represented by Joshua), then we can receive God’s abundant life in the Spirit today and enter the spiritual Promised Land that God has given us.
The lives of the ten evil spies indicate the law of sin and death in our flesh (Romans 8:2). Caleb represents “our inner being who delights in the law of God” (Romans 7:22, ESV), while Joshua represents “the law of the Spirit of life” (Romans 8:2). We must get help from Caleb in order to help Joshua win the battle.
In order to understand this concept, let me give a few examples to illustrate how this “inner Caleb” works within us. My belief is that not everyone is gifted to preach. Some people are not gifted with words, but they are very caring. In the 1980s, there were brothers who came to Guangzhou (in the south of China) from Inner Mongolia (North China) to get a copy of the Bible. In order to save money, they purchased standing-room-only tickets on the train and didn’t eat for a couple of days. An older woman in Guangzhou, who was not good with words, came every day with a basket full of food she had bought, and fed these hungry brothers. The love of this lady is her “inner Caleb,” or the strongest part of her soul, at work within her. The love in her soul is like the attributes of Caleb that God bestowed on her so that she could be victorious in the Spirit.
Each of us has certain characteristics and strengths, which were especially given to us by God when He created us. For example, one of my strengths is persistence. No matter what obstacles I face, I am always determined and persistent in accomplishing what I think is right. When I was writing these articles, my wife often said, “You spend so much time writing, who will read those?” My mother told me, “The articles you have written are so long. You should write shorter. No one has that much time.” I know that a lot of the inspiration I receive during our Bible study comes from God and I must faithfully record it, because if I don’t, I will gradually forget it. The Holy Spirit also told me through the mouth of a Korean prophet that one of my characteristics is that once I set my mind on something, I must carry it through to completion. Thus, my ego is a bit strong, and the Holy Spirit wants me to surrender myself to Him. On the last day of 2017, I was taken to heaven in a prophetic dream. The Lord Jesus said something similar to me. He told me that I should surrender so that He could greatly use me. The people around me also recognize this characteristic of mine, and my wife often says that I am “resilient.” Although I look weak on the outside, I am persistent on the inside. I came to the United States with only $300 to my name. An American teacher who helped me in those early days didn’t like me at first. However, after I attended her class for one semester, she commented, “You have a big soul.” She meant “You have a strong will and a persistent soul.” Of course, I got through that difficult period by relying on the grace of God and the love and help of brothers and sisters in the church and my teachers. But this also has something to do with my personality of persevering and never giving up. I often say that my IQ and EQ are not high, but the reason why God may use me is more than likely because of my perseverance. Everyone who serves God has something in them that God can use.
This is the “inner Caleb” that God has given me, which is one of my greatest strengths. It is what the Lord praised here: “Caleb has a different spirit and has followed me fully” (Numbers 14:24). It’s not only me who has this strength – you have it in you, too. Just like every snowflake created by God is one of a kind, every human is also made distinct and special by Him. He must give you unique qualities, which others do not have. That way, you can bring unique happiness and glory to the Heavenly Father.
How God Uses Weaknesses in the Soul
I know a woman who was sick, and recently experienced God’s healing. She said that her will is often weak, but her compassion and empathy are strong. Emotional richness seems to be her forte. Like the old woman from China who fed the traveling brothers, she is loving and feels deeply. They both gave their love to Jesus, just like Mary, who poured perfume on the Lord.
God may have given you virtues and good characteristics, but you must discover them and make good use of them. This will be the key to your spiritual victory. The strong “Caleb” in you is often the point that is most fiercely attacked by the enemy, or where he will often try to deceive you. For this reason, some people never discover the inner “Caleb” God gave to them.
The woman who had been healed went on to say that because she was weak-willed, she found she was often deceived or intimidated by the enemy. But after recent trials, she hopes to become a strong fighter for the Lord. I then shared with her a teaching I received in the Local Church Movement, which I think is very useful. The teaching goes like this: each of our weaknesses is a “mirror” that reflects a characteristic of Jesus Christ. For example, when I lack love and I look up to the Lord because of this weakness, I will gradually begin to reflect His love. I will slowly transform into the image of the Lord and become a caring person. Similarly, if you lack a strong will but you often look upon and reflect on the strength of the Lord, you will slowly become strong like Him.
In other words, your strengths and weaknesses are created by God, or at least were permitted by Him. Their purpose is to help you win spiritual battles. Even our weaknesses can be used by God to change us. I remember reading an example in Brother Witness Lee’s “All-Inclusive Christ,” which is also a good illustration. In the story, there were two brothers; the elder was more kind and caring towards his parents than the younger brother. When the elder brother began to follow Jesus, he still treated his parents well because of his natural goodness, and he did not pray for God to change him. The younger brother was also saved later on, but because of his natural selfishness, he often prayed to God to help him be more compassionate to his parents. Thus, he slowly became caring and tenderhearted as well. The question is, who experienced more divine changes in their life? The answer is, naturally, the younger brother. In this example, the brother who had natural weakness and no love prayed frequently because of those very same weaknesses, and thus experienced more of God’s transformative power. The elder brother, who had been living by natural goodness all along, underwent fewer divine changes in his life.
Much to our dismay, there are still many qualities in us that are more reminiscent of the ten evil spies. This is because of our ancestors’ sins and our own, our social environment and cultural influences, satan’s deception, etc., that have caused us to have unbelief within us. Each of us have some qualities of these “inner evil spies,” which are not pleasing to God, thus we have to experience the killing work of the cross. The evil spies here had to drop dead in the wilderness, and were not allowed to enter the Promised Land. This actually represents them having experienced the killing work of the cross.
I went on to share some of my weaknesses and “inner evil spies” with the woman from my earlier story. She sighed and lamented that she struggles greatly with this. These “evil spies” may be the effects of the fall of man (e.g. unbelief, lust, greed, theft, deception, etc.). They are rooted deep within us because of our sin and weakness. They often try to work together with Satan to kill us. Just like Paul’s experience in Romans 7, the law of sin in his flesh often bound him, and even killed the good behavior in his soul that tried to obey God’s law. For that very reason he called himself a wretched man (Romans 7:24)!
Whether you have a strong will and faith or are weaker in these areas, the “inner Caleb” in our souls must rise up and stand firm, and cooperate with God’s promise and the Joshua in our spirit. It’s only when we are strong in certain aspects of our souls that we can help our spirit win.
The Power of the Soul
Many Christians often ignore the power of the soul, thinking that as long as we are saved, we can exercise our spirit in all things to overcome the difficulties in our souls. Things are definitely not that simple. Because although God’s life flows through our spirit, and our spirit also has the “law of the Spirit of life” (Romans 8:2), our spiritual power usually starts out small and fragile, like the seedling of an oak tree. Although it can grow into a towering tree that is dozens of yards tall, a small oak seedling can be eaten by a deer in one bite. I have a deep understanding of this because there are a lot of deer that gather near my house when I plant trees and vegetables in the Spring. I must install a fence to stop the deer, otherwise the deer will ruin them all overnight.
Have you ever watched swans take flight? It’s an awe-inspiring sight. They run on the surface of the water before taking off. This run-up is very important. The same goes for an airplane takeoff. Although planes and swans rely on wings, not legs or wheels, when flying, these parts still have to be immensely powerful in order to give them the lift necessary to achieve flight, because of their huge body mass. For us, our flesh is a heavy mass that weighs us down, and our spiritual power is still not strong enough to achieve takeoff on its own. We need the power of the soul to get off the tarmac. But one day, when our spiritual life is strong enough and our flesh no longer burdens us so much, we won’t need the runway anymore. We can take off directly from a launchpad, like a helicopter.
We must not underestimate the power of our soul, but use the positive part of its power, our “inner Caleb,” to help our spirit overcome the “evil spies in our flesh. Although Paul mentioned in Romans 8 that the law of the Spirit of life in Jesus Christ has set us free from the law of sin and death in the flesh, he did not neglect to mention that our soul, especially its power of choice, brings different results.
Some Christians who pursue spirituality belittle the power of the soul, and do not clear up its problems. Instead, they blindly pursue spirituality, and eventually find that they arrive in a bottleneck. I have seen this many times, especially when I was studying Inner Healing Ministry and Deliverance Ministry in the Pentecostal Movement. Some people who pursue spirituality in traditional churches do not recognize or ignore problems in their souls. They treat them as their old selves, thinking that it is enough to just exercise their spirit. They have a saying that the soul is a “city of problems” and the spirit is a “city with no problems.” Some people even categorize inner healing in the Pentecostal Movement as simply “counseling.” But as far as my learning experience is concerned, it is not that simple. We cannot ignore the fact that the killing of the flesh and our old man needs the work of the cross. The damage of the soul needs inner healing, and the demons inside need to be cast out. These are two different aspects of spiritual truth, which are both necessary for true freedom. According to my study and observation, many inner healers of the Pentecostal Movement often use prophetic gifts when serving people. They receive miraculous words from God and illuminate the problems of the souls they minister to, thereby letting people be set free and receive inner healing.
Unleashing Our “Inner Caleb” Sets Captives Free
For example, a Charismatic prophet I know said that once when he was ministering to a woman, he received an inspiration from the Holy Spirit and mentioned the name “Mike.” Immediately, the woman became hysterical. After that, they carried out deliverance and cast the demons out of her. Later, they continued to interview her and give her inner healing. It turns out that “Mike” is the name of the person who raped her. Because of this painful experience, her soul was distorted. But because the prophet brought up this matter through the gift of the Holy Spirit, told her through the love of Jesus that this was caused by the person’s evil, and assured her that the love of Jesus Christ is always there to guard her, she was set free, able to know God’s love, and get rid of her hatred towards men.
This is of course an extreme example. Although the situation and degree of severity differ, each of us has a “Mike” in our soul. It is the unspoken pain in your heart that you hide from the world. Even if you believe in the Lord, these “Mikes” are still there, obstructing your spiritual pursuit. They are just like blisters – if they pop, they must be treated properly so as not to cause an infection, which would affect your overall health. Similarly, the path to pursuing spirituality requires solving the problems in your soul. I once observed a Charismatic church in Baltimore that was able to lead hundreds of people, many of whom were struggling financially or addicted to drugs, to salvation in just a few years. I believe their tremendous results came from the great importance they placed on helping people solve their actual material needs, and also on solving the problems in their soul through inner healing and deliverance ministry. They held many inner healing classes and trainings on “Identity in Christ.” I have seen many people at many different churches use the gifts of the Holy Spirit to minister to others in similar ways, as well.
We minister to people not only to provide the light of God’s words, but also to nourish people’s spirits, so that they can grow spiritually. When we minister to people, we need to be able to help them recognize and solve the problems in their soul, discover their own value from the soul, and use the power of their soul to help them develop their spirit. This is a question of mutual help. Our spirit can help our soul overcome the control of our flesh, and once our soul can stand against our flesh, we have the opportunity to mature spiritually.
I know that the soul problems of many people are piled high and seem overwhelmingly numerous. It is difficult to solve them all at once. But the Holy Spirit is God. He will illuminate our soul, clear up any of its problems, and strengthen and renew it, thereby saving our soul.
This is the inspiration I got from reading this chapter. I am praying for you to discover the “Caleb” inside you that can rise up to fight with your “inner Joshua,” in order to win your spiritual battles. You need also to find the “ten evil spies” in you and put them on the cross. Our souls need inner healing so that we can become strong “Calebs” today. Let go of your “Mike,” but let your “Caleb” rise up in you! Do you agree with me?