“No one from this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give your ancestors, except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see it, and I will give him and his descendants the land he set his feet on, because he followed the LORD wholeheartedly.” — Deuteronomy 1:35–36
The year 2018 is important for Israel and the Jewish people as we celebrate the modern State of Israel’s 70th Birthday. You can be part of this momentous milestone with Rabbi Eckstein’s 70 devotions offered now through April 19, Israel’s Independence Day. These devotions are tied to our Keys to Israel – six fundamental principles underlying God’s covenantal relationship with His chosen people and His Holy Land using the acrostic I.S.R.A.E.L.
This devotion is part of ten devotions focusing on the letter “E” for Educate — the need to arm ourselves with the truth about Israel and share that truth with others.
A test was once conducted where 10 high school students were placed in one room and shown three lines of varying lengths. The students were told to raise their hands when the instructor pointed to the longest line. In reality, only one student was being tested. Nine of the students had been instructed beforehand to raise their hands when the instructor pointed to the second longest line. Seventy-five percent of the time, the students being tested retracted the right answer when they saw that no one else agreed with them. The researchers concluded that most people would rather be popular than be right.
It’s not easy to hold firm to our convictions. It’s far easier to follow the crowd.
In Deuteronomy chapter 1, Moses was speaking about Caleb, one of the 12 spies sent to scout out the land of Canaan. Moses recalled how most of the spies gave a bad report about God’s chosen land and how the people rebelled against God as a result. The Israelites were punished for this act of disobedience and failure to trust God with a decree that none of them would enter the land.
However, there was an exception. Moses recounted God’s decision: “No one from this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give your ancestors, except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see it, and I will give him and his descendants the land he set his feet on, because he followed the LORD wholeheartedly.” While the nation rebelled, Caleb was the only one to stand against the crowd and urge the people to trust God and enter the Promised Land. Because of his courageous stand, he received exceptional treatment.
Truth be told, Joshua also chose to stand against the other 10 spies and side with Caleb. However, it was Caleb who spoke out first; Caleb who stuck out his neck for the sake of God. The Bible tells us, “Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, ‘We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it’” (Numbers 13:30). Caleb dared to go against the crowd and was bold enough to stand up for God.
Albert Einstein once said, “The one who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The one who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been.” Let’s be like Caleb and dare to walk alone when necessary. Stand with Israel, when the rest of the world stands against her. Bring a good report about Israel, when the rest of the world concocts a bad one. Stand with God and stand for the truth.
When we follow God instead of the crowd, He will take us to places that others can only imagine!
Join the celebration and get the entire Keys to I.S.R.A.E.L. curriculum for free — for you, your small group, or even your church.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President