SIMPLE TRUTH: God moved to his ‘Plan B’ for all

Published 11:36 am Tuesday, October 22, 2013

By Charles Christmas

This is the second in a series of three articles on the man of faith named Caleb, who “fully followed God.” At the age of forty, this courageous and faith-filled leader of the tribe of Judah, along with Joshua, took a stand against the majority and said, “Let’s go for it!” His faith was: “We can do it. The enemies and the problems are great, but God is greater. What God desires for us and promises us can be ours if we step out on faith. God will bring us into his promised land if we will look to him and not ourselves or our problems. Let’s trust ourselves and our children all on God rather than rebel against him in unbelief.”

This would have been God’s “Plan A” for Caleb, Joshua, Moses and the million or more Israelites: to immediately begin to enter and conquer God’s Promised Land. But because of the rebellion in unbelief of the majority, God moved to his “Plan B” for all.

This was a plan of the judgment of God on unbelief. All the children of Israel would wander about in the desert for 40 years and all men above age 20 at the time would die in the desert. This meant that no one above 60 years old would enter the Promised Land 40 years later, except Caleb and Joshua. All who rebelled against the “faith life” at the border of Canaan were choosing to live and die outside of God’s will and plan for their lives.

God’s Plan B was to raise up a new generation of young and median adults. They would believe God, and follow the faith, example and challenge of Caleb and Joshua to enter and conquer the Promised Land.

But what was God’s Plan B for Caleb? First, it was God’s assurance to him that 40 years later, God’s Plan A would fully be realized by him in an even greater faith venture in the Promised Land. Second, he would live to see the dreadful price to be paid by God’s people who rebel against the faith life: living and dying outside the wonderful plan of God. Every time he heard of a death, he would remember and probably tell others, “By faith, this could have been so different; but they wouldn’t believe God. Judgment is falling on the unbelieving people of God.” Third, I think Caleb, as he moved toward becoming a senior adult, became sort of a youth evangelist. I think he was the person the parents wanted their children to imitate, and whose message they wanted their children to hear and believe. I think even those older parents and grandparents wanted their children and grandchildren to enter the Promised Land, even though the parents would die in the desert. Although Plan B was such a long wait for Caleb, he had a message of assurance and hope for the new generation God was raising up to believe and follow him.

Has your Plan A vision and faith direction ever had to be put on hold? Have circumstances, lack of cooperation, sickness, family, finances or the unbelief of others made it necessary to patiently “make the best of the situation?” In Plan B, there is still a faith work that God has for you to do. In such a plan, Caleb was used in ways he would never have been used had he not been sidetracked. Some have called it the “ministry of interruptions.” For his people of faith, we might also call God “the God of Plan B’s.”

The Bible background for this article is Numbers 13 and 14.

—Charles Christmas is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Thursday.