Entering the Land with Faith
Numbers 13:1-2 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel….”
Numbers 13:32–14:3 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out… So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried…. And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness!
Numbers 14:6-8 But Joshua…and Caleb…,who were among those who had spied out the land…spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’”
Every Sunday school student remembers this Bible story. The children of Israel bring back a bad report of the Promised Land, and end up losing their inheritance—all, that is, except Joshua and Caleb, who bring back a positive one. What accounts for the difference?
It’s a matter of faith and unbelief. Nearly hidden in Numbers 13:1 is the crux of the instruction: “the land of Canaan, which I am giving (emphasis mine) to the children of Israel.” Apparently those that brought back the bad report thought that they should spy out the land to see if they would be able to take it. Perhaps they misunderstood Moses when he told them: “Go up…and see what the land is like: whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak, few or many; whether the land they dwell in is good or bad; whether the cities they inhabit are like camps or strongholds; whether the land is rich or poor; and whether there are forests there or not. Be of good courage.”
Moses never said to check out the land to see if…. God had already promised the land to them. The purpose in checking out the land was so that they could see what the Lord would be dealing with—not to question the viability of receiving the Lord’s promise to them.
Joshua and Caleb saw the same good land, the same milk and honey, the same fortified cities, the same descendants of Anak. But they saw them in the context of faith: they believed God when He told Moses that He was giving them the land. They saw something beyond what their eyes reported: to them, the land was going to be theirs, plain and simple. They saw that warfare was going to be necessary, but had no doubts they would win. This was their inheritance from God, and nothing would be able to stop Him. Though others lost out and time went by, they indeed received their inheritance.
What has God promised you—either by His whispers or in His word? If He promises it, our main challenge is to believe it. We might all see the obstacles, but let’s let others see them as showstoppers. For us, they should be occasions for God to show His power and receive glory.
Prayer: Lord, help me to receive Your promises so deeply that I don’t see obstacles as showstoppers. Help me to be like Joshua and Caleb, and help me to agree with them that You are well able to accomplish Your word.