Read: Numbers 13:1-33
Consider: There will always be naysayers, who say that it cannot be done. That is exactly what Moses found when he sent the twelve spies into Canaan to spy out the land. Of the twelve sent out, ten reported negatively, giving Moses a report that focussed on the obstacles they thought there were. In Numbers 13:27 we read: They gave Moses this account: ‘We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey!’ If only they had stopped there, but they continued: ‘But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there’ (13:28).
Only Caleb and Joshua saw the potential of the land and focussed on the positives. In response to the naysayers’ report we are told: 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’ (13:30).
Unfortunately the naysayers ‘… spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored’ (13:32). Worse was to follow, as we can see in the next chapter of Numbers. The people listened to the naysayers and grumbled against Moses and Aaron. They even wanted to choose a leader and go back to Egypt!
What was the outcome? The Israelites had forgotten what God had done for them during the exodus from Egypt and how he had supplied their needs. Their rebellion and unbelief resulted in them wandering through the desert for forty years, before they would be permitted to enter the land of Canaan.
What are we to glean from this that is relevant to us in our time? As it is true that there always have been and always will be those who see things negatively, we need to be watchful and careful that their views do not unnecessarily sway the opinions of the wider community. Some congregations have even split due to a small group of people voicing negative opinions on even small matters, never mind anything of substance.
When a person holds the view that ‘it cannot be done”, I think it is important to change this to ‘should it be done?’ If the thing being contemplated is within God’s will, then it should not be resisted. If it is within God’s will then nothing can prevent it from happening, particularly as any perceived obstacles will be overcome in God’s strength.
Pray: Father, keep us from negativity that focusses on problems rather than on your awesome strength. Help us to seek and to move forward in your will, even in the light of perceived obstacles. Amen