As I’ve been meditating on a trust without borders, several of the saints in Scripture who lived this way came to mind.
The 12 spies had borders. Caleb and Joshua had no borders. Many times when the Lord is leading me to do something that brings fear in me, He reminds me of this story in Numbers 13-14. God had promised them this land, freed them from slavery in Egypt to bring them to this point and done amazing miracles in the process. But when they got to the edge and it was time to go in, their faith had borders. The spies saw only the obstacles, the “giants”, and thus saw themselves as grasshoppers. Caleb and Joshua, on the other hand, were ready to go for it! And the reason was that they knew the Lord was with them and so there was no reason to be afraid (Numbers 14:9). When they get back to the edge of the Promised Land 40 years later, Caleb and Joshua still have no borders. I love the faith of Caleb as an 85-yr-old man asking to be given the hill country saying, “If the Lord is with me, I can force them out, as He promised.” (Deuteronomy 14:12)
The Israelites had borders. David had no borders. In 1 Samuel 17, the Israelites are facing off with the Philistines when the Philistines send out Goliath, a giant outfitted with the best armor and weapons. He issues a one-on-one challenge to the Israelites which leaves them quaking in their sandals. But when David hears this, his response is completely different and one with no borders – “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26b) He takes a sling and five smooth stones – and “the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel” (17:45). And that was all he needed. David says confidently to Goliath, “This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. … that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands” (17:46-47). And God did just that.
Abraham had no borders. In Genesis 12, the Lord tells Abraham to leave his country and his relatives to go to the land that God would show him. Included in this command is a promise to make Abraham the father of many nations. Hebrews 11:8b says Abraham “went out, not knowing where he was going.” If that’s not a faith with literally no borders, I don’t know what is!
Noah had no borders. In Genesis 6, the Lord commands Noah to build an ark because He is bringing a flood of water to destroy every creature on earth except the ones in the ark. But Noah had never seen rain! Hebrews 11:7 says that “Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark”. At that time, a mist would rise from the earth to water the ground (Genesis 2:6) – there was no rain. But Noah was a righteous man who walked with God, and his faith had no borders (Genesis 6:9). Which is exactly why God chose him.
These are just a few of the “so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us” (Hebrews 12:1) who trusted the Lord and followed Him no matter what the cost, no matter how ludicrous it seemed to others, no matter what obstacles seemed to lie before them. They were able to do it because they knew the God who called them and believed that He was trustworthy and able to do whatever He promised.
What is God calling you to do? What is He calling me to do? Do we have borders on our faith, limits to how much we will trust Him? Or will we follow Him and trust Him like these saints did? I hope so. They all were greatly blessed because they followed and obeyed. I don’t want to miss out on what God has for me because my faith was too small and my fear was too big.
Nice work Alison. Enjoyed thinking about the borders in my own life.