What if the giants in your life, the huge terrifying difficulties that cause you to lose heart, to deem impossible, and refuse to go somewhere or do something because you believe you are completely incapable are actually the very things that are intended to display how awesome God is?
“The Lord now said to Moses, “Send out men to explore the land of Canaan, the land I am giving to the Israelites.” Numbers 13:1-2
I have read through these verses about the twelve spies going into the Promised Land many times. I often wonder about the purpose of spying out the land. It was God’s will for His people to live in that land from the very beginning when He promised it to Abraham and his descendants many generations before. It was the good land flowing with milk and honey that He chose for them long ago and now was the time for them to go into it. But God also knew they would see many things that would discourage them. Yet, He told Moses to send them in.
What was God’s intention for the spying out of the land?
Why did ten men come back with a bad report and two men came back with a good report?
While I don’t know God’s intentions, I can ask Him what He wants me to learn from this. One thing that I realize is the importance of looking at the things I face through the truth that God has told me.
All twelve spies were told the land they were going into was the land God promised to give them.
God’s truth said, “I am giving to the Israelites.”
Two of the men chose to look at the things in the Promised Land through the truth of this promise, while ten of the men chose to see the things in the Promised Land through their own eyes.
While spying out the land all twelve men saw the land certainly was flowing with milk and honey just as God had said. They were amazed by the bountiful fruit and brought some back to show the people.
However there came a, “But” in their report.
” But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak! The Amalekites live in the Negev, and the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country. The Canaanites live along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and along the Jordan Valley.”
“We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!”Numbers 13:28-29, 31-33
Whenever I say, “But” followed by something of the world in response to God’s truth it means I have allowed my own flesh to determine something different then God’s truth.
When the ten spies saw the people and the fortified cities they considered themselves rather than God.
These ten men chose to look at the people and the cities through their own eyes, considering their own abilities, and trusting in their own strength, and determined they were incapable of taking the land.
These ten men made themselves “as God” when they chose to determine what was good for the people of God.
When you choose to see situations through your own eyes, depending upon your own abilities, and trusting in your own strength you are playing the role of God in your life.
What if everything you looked at was seen through God’s truth?
The two men chose to see the things in the Promised Land through the eyes of faith in God’s truth.
But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!” Numbers 13:30
They said to all the people of Israel, “The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!” Numbers 14:7-9
Joshua and Caleb saw the Promised Land and the things in it differently.
They saw the good and weren’t afraid of the bad.
They believed the truth of God’s word that said He was giving them the land. They believed they were God’s chosen people and that God was for them. They trusted in the power and love of God more than in themselves and didn’t consider their own abilities and strength.
Joshua and Caleb’s report had a “But,” however, it was followed by, “The Lord is with us!”
Joshua and Caleb chose to believe and to speak the truth when no one else believed them. The Israelites cried, wept, complained, and threatened to stone them for the way they saw the Promised Land.
All who believed the report of the ten men never entered the Promised Land. They never enjoyed the incredible abundance God intended for them. They never realized the amazing power and love God longed for them to experience as He went before them and showed His glory in conquering the land. All they knew was wandering around in the wilderness as they lived out their lives across the river from the promises of God.
So, I wonder, what are the giants and the fortified cities in your life that keep you afraid and focused on yourself? Whose report have you allowed to be “as God” and determine what is best for you?
Joshua and Caleb were the only two who entered the Promised Land and enjoyed the abundant provision and experienced the awesome glory of God displayed on behalf of His people!