“See what the land is like and whether the people living there are strong or weak, few or many. Is the land they live in good or bad? Do their cities have walls around them or not? Is the soil rich or poor? Does the land have trees or not? Do your best to bring back some fruit from the land.” (It was the season when grapes were beginning to ripen.)” Numbers 13:18-20
You know the story. Moses sent out 12 spies into the land of Canaan with a mission – report findings on the land that Israel was about to occupy. The abovementioned verses were the mission objectives in Numbers 13:18-20.
The interesting part came with the group of 12 during the report. Each of them testified of the abundance and their pleasant surprise with the size of the fruit of the land.
Everything was going well until one of them said “BUT.” And what came out thereafter was both faithless and spineless. Even with Caleb’s interjection that they should move quickly to take the inhabitants by surprise and conquer the land, the fear now spread to the others who corroborated with the first reporting spy.
Fear spread like wildfire and it was only at the Lord’s intervention did the issue stop. All who lacked faith were now excluded from inheriting the promise.
What can we learn from this as individuals and as a church?
Firstly, new ground requires a new faith perspective. Clearly, those who were sent out as spies still saw themselves as slaves. The Egyptian overlords were probably still fresh in their minds. And now, with a land whose inhabitants were larger in size, they resigned to defeat, before any slingshot was even released. As long as you hold onto an old pair of lenses in viewing the issues and circumstances ahead of you, you will only see insurmountable problems. If seeing through the eyes of faith is a problem, get a spiritual “eye check”. Go to secret place and start asking for a transformed perspective.
Secondly, don’t get paralysed by problems, start looking to Him for ways to overcome them. Caleb’s counter-reply was deliberate. He interjected because he knew that Israel could not afford to have faithless thinking in their mind as a nation. In Caleb’s mind, once God said that He would lead them to the land flowing with milk and honey, it was a done deal. To Caleb and Joshua in fact, the truth to them was that if God says He will bring you to it, He will definitely bring you through it.
The missing gap in most Christians’ minds is the incessant focus on the problem rather than the Solution-provider – God Himself. When we start looking at ourselves in relation to a problem, we are contained by our limitations – resources, abilities, and networks.
As we start of 2021, where are you at with these two learning points?