I was reading the account in Numbers 13 of Moses sending out the spies to check out the promised land. Its interesting to replay the events as I read them and see some things that led to what the Jews actually celebrate yearly! In Israel and for Jews all across the world, they have a national Day of Mourning to commemorate the day that 10 of 12 spies said they couldn\’t take the promised land and the people wept and wailed (and have been ever since) over the enemy that in their minds, God was not big enough to empower them to defeat!
As I replayed these events, I noticed a few things that led to this fateful day in the maturation process of Israel becoming a fully God-dependent people:
- The leaders let their own fears determine their level of faith. God had restored an entire army in front of the Hebrew children as they crossed the Red Sea. He had sent plagues on the entire land of Egypt, except where they were living in Goshen; thus signifying his ability to separate those he is protecting from those he is punishing. Up until this point God had shown himself to be very powerful and more importantly, PRESENT in their lives. Yet as they spoke to Moses their report traveled from faith to doubt with the single word \”but\”. The leaders could very well have recognized the power and size of the nations in the land they were to conquer, even the fact that giants were in the land, and still have remained in faith by stating the greatness of the God who had brought them along thus far and had defeated foes and provided for them throughout the entire journey. As Disciples (Followers) of Jesus, we can\’t let the size, greatness, power or even the determination of the enemy, be an influence in our walk of Faith. Jesus tells us that in the world we WILL HAVE TROUBLE, life situations that are troubling are a given even in the eyes of the Kingdom. However it is how you respond to those \”life-issues\” that determines whether you operate in fear or in faith. Jesus gives us confidence to stand and walk with peace in our hearts through every storm and situation that comes against us, when he said (with his own little \”but\”), \”Be of Good Cheer, I have overcome the WORLD\”! With that kind of powerful declaration from our Lord and Savior, why would we ever be truly concerned with the enemy?
- The leaders made an assumption about the enemies position. As the leaders were giving their closing arguments about the survey of the land, they increased the fear by assuming what the enemy truly thought about them. Verse 33 says this, \”We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked them same to them.\” The problem is that nowhere in this entire account, does it ever mention that they spoke with the nations of the land. It only says they surveyed and brought back some fruit. There was not a moment in which the passage says they were chased away, attacked or suffered veiled threats of attack in any way. They made an assumption that they were small and that if they thought that about themselves, that the enemies around them must\’ve also felt the same way! This is and has always been a disastrous position to hold. This one statement, held the Hebrew children in check in the wilderness for 40 years waiting for a faith-less generation to die off. The truth of matter is what we find in Joshua, which is 40 years later…Joshua 1:9-11 says, \”I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. When we heard of it our hearts melted in fear and everyone\’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.\” Their reputation had preceded them 40 years ago! The giants and the nations of the land, didn\’t view them as grasshoppers, they were frightened at the thought of them and more importantly at the thought of their God going before them! These were a people not foreign to god worship and prayers, in fact they were idolatrous people, but NONE OF THEIR gods had ever conquered an entire army, split the sea or destroyed two entire nations and kings like the God of the Hebrews.