‘Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.’
They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. They gave Moses this account: ‘We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there.
Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, ‘We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.’ But the men who had gone up with him said, ‘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.” Numbers 13:2, 26-28, 30-32 (NIV)
Twelve spies entered the promised land to spy it out and to bring a report back to Moses. All twelve saw the same things, yet only two of them saw the opportunity that God was presenting to them. The other ten saw only problems. All twelve acknowledged that the land did indeed ‘flow with milk and honey’, as God had said it would. But in addition to the good things, they saw the obstacles (the people were powerful, their cities were fortified and very large, and the people themselves seemed like giants to them). Caleb and Joshua were the only spies that saw beyond the physical to what God had promised.
Don’t forget that these people had been witnesses to God’s deliverance from Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea. Yet this counted for nothing when they were confronted with the reality of the promised land. It looks as if they had forgotten what God had already done for them and what he had promised to do.
When you are faced with something that God wants you to do, you have a choice to make – either focus on God, or focus on the difficulties. Every situation can be seen as either an opportunity or a problem.
Whatever way you see it, don’t let yourself become a discourager. You may be overawed by the task set before you, but don’t let it turn you into someone who prevents others from doing what God wants.
In Numbers 13 we are told that the ten spies
‘… spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored’.
The ten spies allowed their fears to cloud their judgement so much that they sought to negatively influence a whole nation.
Pray that God would give you the eyes of Caleb and Joshua when you are presented with a task for him.
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