“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.'” Numbers 13:32 NLT
When I was young, chicken was more than the animal.
I was young when I learned chicken wasn’t necessarily a chicken. Chickens ran around my grandmother’s yard during the day and were locked up in the coop at night. But if my cousin asked me to do something I was scared to do and I didn’t do it, he labeled me a chicken. And since I was somewhat scared of adventurous things, I often wore the label.
“Marty, I bet you won’t jump off the tractor shed,” he might say.
“Are you crazy,” I’d respond.
“Chicken. Bak, bak, bak.”
Or if it was something I initially said I’d do but then changed my mind about at the last minute, I would be accused of chickening out. Either way, I was a chicken.
Of the 12 spies Moses sent into the Promised Land, 10 chickened out. Four hundred years of Egyptian slavery was behind the Israelites. Now, they stood on the border of the land God had promised their ancestors. Out of fear-or either good sense, Moses sent 12 men to peruse the land. It was promising alright but was also guarded by giants and walled cities. Ten of the men chickened out. Only Joshua and Caleb maintained they could take the land. The majority’s disobedience cost the Israelites 40 years of wilderness wandering.
I’m fond of telling people God won’t ask them to do anything they can’t do-but most of the time that’s not true. God often asks me to do things I can’t do. If I can do it, I don’t need Him. If I can’t do it-but He helps me do it, then the spotlight is shone on Him and He gets the glory for what’s accomplished.
What God asks of me, He enables me to do. He would have enabled the people to conquer the land-and He did for another generation 40 years later. The walled cities and giants were no problem for them when God was their guide.
I wonder how many things I’ve missed doing for God because I chickened out and never started. Living the Christian life involves faith and trust, and sometimes the faith must be blind faith-the kind children have.
Don’t chicken out on what God asks of you. He’ll always supply the strength, the way, and the courage.
Martin Wiles Hodges, South Carolina, USA