So I’m reading my Life Journal schedule for today and it includes a couple of chapters from Numbers, some stuff from Psalm 90, and some stuff from Mark 2. Obviously, Numbers always seems like a challenge when you sit down to read it because of its very name. I mean, really, who wants to sit down and peruse the Bible like an accountant? Not bashing CPAs or anything but it’s just not my cup of tea, sitting around, crunching numbers.
Moving on … one of the great stories in Numbers is that of Moses sending out the 12 spies into the Promised Land. From a military stand point, it was a recon mission by the best of the best. These guys were all tribal leaders of the people of Israel. They were hand-picked by Moses to go and bring back an assessment of what they were about to face.
Now, the interesting thing about all this is that God had already brought them out of Egypt. He had already delivered them from the hand of Pharaoh at the Red Sea. He had provided for them with manna and quail in the desert. He had promised them that they were going to the Promised Land; that he would deliver it to them! “The LORD now said to Moses, ‘Send out men to explore the land of Canaan, the land I am giving to the Israelites. Send one leader from each of the twelve ancestral tribes’” (Numbers 12:1-2).
So, here’s what happened next:
25 After exploring the land for forty days, the men returned 26 to Moses, Aaron, and the whole community of Israel at Kadesh in the wilderness of Paran. They reported to the whole community what they had seen and showed them the fruit they had taken from the land. 27 This was their report to Moses: “We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces. 28 But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak! 29 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.”
30 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!”
31 But the other men who had explored the land with him disagreed. “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” 32 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. 33 We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!”
Only Caleb was bold enough to say, “Let’s move forward on this.” Why is that? We often get this story told to us in some form or other and hail Caleb as the one, who walked in faith; the one who “faced the giants.” Here are just a few observations from my reading this morning and how God was speaking to me:
· The key is verse 2: “Send out men to explore the land of Canaan, the land I am giving to the Israelites. Send one leader from each of the twelve ancestral tribes.”
o Caleb was already walking in what God had promised the people.
§ Despite all the heartaches that Israel caused God through their disobedience and whining, there were some who truly followed him.
§ I believe that’s why Caleb was the only one who said, “Let’s go!”
· He was the only one truly prepared to lay it all on the line because he’d been laying it on the line up to that point already.
o Preparation + Opportunity =
o Caleb, despite the giants, decided to believe what God had said and therefore overcame any fear that he might have had.
§ This makes me think of Peter walking on the water (Matthew 14:24-33).
· Peter, despite his doubt later, got out on the water and walked!!!
· The Church was built on what he did through the power of the Holy Spirit!
· The key is that he walked in faith in a calling already given by God.
o He was already in God’s will.
o He was obedient.
o And he was relentless about its pursuit.
§ He was eager to go claim it NOW given the opportunity!
My question then becomes: what is the Word saying to you? To follow along with what Alex Kendrick and the film Facing the Giants points out … what giants do you need to overcome? You’re already called so what’s holding you back? Is the thing that’s holding you back really bigger than the destination to which God is calling you to journey?
You know, it’s the journey that prepares you to take the destination. I pray that we allow it to prepare us as much as I pray that we push through the obstacles and challenges to get to our destinations!