Numbers 13:30-33(NKJV) 30Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” 31But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” 32And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. 33There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”
In our study of Romans 4 we have discovered that the 4th step to successfully possessing our promise by faith is to give glory to God. This results in the strengthening of our faith so that we can stand through opposition. We become fully persuaded that the Lord can do what he said he would do and we remain strong until we see the results of our faith in manifestation.
Yesterday we looked at what it meant to give glory to God from the perspective of the Old Testament definition. We give glory to God when we place more value or weight on the Lord than on the problem. As we declare his greatness, we magnify him in the situation and minimize the devil’s ability to keep us from receiving what God has for us.
Today I want to look at the New Testament word that is translated “give glory to” and how it relates to what we need to do as believers. In the Greek this phrase is represented by one word, Doxa. We get our word doxology from this Greek word. Anyone who grew up in a denominational church will probably remember singing the Doxology. It starts out with the line, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” It is called the Doxology because it is a musical statement giving glory to God.
Theyer’s Greek Definitions says the word “doxa” means an opinion. In New Testament times, it was always a good opinion. In other words, to give glory to God would be to express a good opinion of God. When we face resistance to our faith, it is very tempting to express the opinion of our flesh. That opinion is usually that it is not going to work out. Our opinion may be that the opposition is too strong or we are too weak. However, when we give glory to God we are focused on our opinion of Him not of the situation or of our ability within it.
In today’s scripture, we look again at the difference between Joshua and Caleb and the other ten spies Moses sent into the promised land. In verse 30 of Numbers 13 Caleb expresses his opinion based on God and his ability. “We are well able to take the land.” He did not come to this conclusion based on the strength of Israel’s army. He was really expressing his opinion of the Lord. Later both he and Joshua point to the promise of God as the reason they could take the land. They gave glory to God in the situation.
The other ten spies expressed their opinion as well. They gave their opinion of the strength of the opposition. They also gave their opinion of how the opposition saw them. “We were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” On closer examination, they were really expressing their opinion of their own abilities. They did not give glory to God. In the King James Version of the Bible, it says they gave an evil report to the people.
What is your opinion of God? Is he really almighty? Is he really all knowing? Is he really the greatest being in the universe? If that were truly your opinion, why would you worry? Put your trust in him and express a good opinion of God. You will be strengthened in your faith.
In classical Greek, the word doxa represents a process that involves four phases; opinion, conjecture, expectation, and then praise. This process shows how giving glory to God works.
We have already pointed out that we have to ask ourselves what our opinion of God really is. When confronted with opposition, is our opinion that God is greater or the problem is greater. How do we come to the right opinion?
The second word in this process was intriguing to me. For the most part, we tend to put a negative connotation on the word “conjecture.” If we hear or read a news story that is said to be conjecture we tend to discount it as not based on facts. This is the basic definition of the word, however, when I looked up the word, I found that there was an interesting aspect that applies particularly in this context.
According to Webster’s dictionary, conjecture means the formation or expression of an opinion or theory without sufficient evidence for proof. Why is this so important? According to Hebrews 11:1, faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things that cannot be seen or proven with the senses. That sounds very much like the definition of conjecture. When we are speaking of giving glory to God, this process involves forming an opinion based upon things for which we have insufficient evidence or proof.
Abraham had no proof that God could give him a child at one hundred years old. Joshua and Caleb had no proof that the Israel could overcome the Canaanites. They formed their opinion based on the character and promises of God not on physical evidence. As we choose to glorify God, we must actively accept that we do not have the physical proof to back our conclusion. We may have some experience seeing other promises of God come to pass, but it is that lack of physical proof that makes our opinion faith in God.
Once we choose to form our opinion on the basis of faith, we allow our expectation to rise based on that opinion and not on the natural facts in evidence. Abraham had facts to look at. They were indisputable in his circumstance. Both he and his wife were too old to have children. His wife had been unable to conceive when she was of the correct age, so it was certainly impossible for her to conceive at ninety. These were the facts.
Abraham chose to form his opinion of God on the basis of the promise instead of the facts. He then expected that God would do what he promised. This is all an part of the process of giving glory to God, but you notice there is one more step. Without that step, we do not give glory to God. Doing all of the rest may help, but only when we do the final step to we release the power that strengthened Abraham so that he could receive the promise. The last step is to praise God.