God had promised that the Israelites would receive the Promised Land, and once they arrived at its border, Moses sent 12 spies to see what the land looked like and who the inhabitants were.
When the spies came back, they brought fruit with them: “When they reached the Valley of Eshkol, they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them, along with some pomegranates and figs.” (Numbers 13:23 NIV).
This was great news!
Unfortunately most of the spies were not happy at all: “‘We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.’ And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, ‘The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.'” (Numbers 13: 31-33, NIV). And these 10 spies continued scaring the people. After all, if the grapes are this big, the inhabitants must be huge! They had no faith at all.
Only Caleb and Joshua were positive. Joshua said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” (Numbers 13: 30b, NIV). They were the only ones who trusted God.
This day should have been a day of rejoicing, but instead, the Israelites complained: “That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, ‘If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness!'” (Numbers 14:1-2, NIV)
There was hope, but the 10 spies took that hope away. As a result, the people were wailing and asking for a new leader-as if that would change anything!
How would we have reacted? Would we have also fallen for the report of the giants? It is, after all, as the old saying goes, better to be safe than sorry!
I, for one, don’t agree with this old adage. It is far better to be like Joshua and Caleb, who believed what God said; for if God has promised something, we have nothing to worry about!
In the end, we all have a choice to make: Either we stand by the complaners, or we stand with our loving Heavenly Father. May we always do the right thing and put our trust our God. After all, Jesus gave His life so that we could be rescued from the evil one.
Many years ago, while at a workshop, we found out that we would not be getting a raise that year. In fact, we would lose money because we would be required to take unpaid vacation days throughout the year, days that would become known as “Ray Days”, after the province’s premier. You can believe me when I say there was “wailing” among the teachers! After all, how would we all survive?
These pay cuts were for the teachers only, however, and the principals were exempt. The principal at my school decided to do the honorable thing. She stood up and said, “I will not accept any increase in my salary either. I will stand by you. This is the right thing to do.”
Everyone was suddenly quiet, but it was only a few seconds later when the entire room broke out in applause for our principal. She had given the teachers hope.
Our Heavenly Father is the same. He gives hope. He stands by us. “I will be with you.” (Ex 3:12 1, NIV)
We can rejoice. Our Heavenly Father will lead the way! Trust Him!
(To access the entire “Hope in the Distance” devotional series, please click here.)