By Charles Christian
The story told in Numbers 13-14 is not unfamiliar to us. Twelve spies were sent to check out the land of Canaan—the land that God promised to the Israelites (Numbers 13:17-20).
After 40 days, they returned with both good and bad news—the land was fertile but the inhabitants were strong and the city impenetrable. Caleb, one of the twelve spies, assured the Israelites by saying, “Let’s go at once to take the land . . .we can certainly conquer it! ” (Numbers 13:30).
Unfortunately, not all the spies had Caleb’s courage and optimism. The other spies began to paint a bleak picture of the Promised Land, fueling the Israelites’ doubt and fear, causing them to rise up against Moses and Aaron (Numbers 14: 1-4). They completely forgot what the Lord had done for them. In fact, once they heard about the giants in their path, they opted to surrender and return to being slaves in Egypt. They abandoned the promise of God, along with His assurance that He will always be with them.
Thankfully, Joshua and Caleb saw the folly of the Israelites’ ways and exclaimed in exasperation, “The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! And if the LORD is pleased with us, He will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. Do not rebel against the LORD, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the LORD is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!” (Numbers 14:7-9 NLT)
However, their words fell on deaf ears and the story ends with the Lord appearing to all the people of Israel expressing His disappointment and rage (Numbers 14:10-11).
What was it that distinguished Joshua and Caleb from the other ten spies? Well, the answer is their focus.
Joshua and Caleb focused on God’s promise—that He will accompany them into the land of Canaan because He promised it to the Israelites. On the other hand, the other ten spies focused on the giants in the land, and the giants took precedence over God in their hearts. Joshua and Caleb focused on the promise. The other ten spies focused on the problem.
When we focus on a problem, it is hard to see the blessings that come with it, or the grace that He gives to solve the problem.
From this biblical account, we see a startling fact. Where are the giants located in? They were in the Promised Land! They were in Canaan, the land that God had promised to the Israelites. He intended that they faced these giants and seized the land of Canaan as their own.
It may sound strange that He presents both blessing and problem together. But honestly, it’s the wisdom of God. For it is through these problems that God prepares us to receive the blessings that He intends for us. We are thus enabled to enjoy God’s blessings more fully.
Let us remember: It’s better to walk into the storm with the Lord, than to stay in the prairie alone. Why? Because God is the only One who knows the right path. We’ll never go wrong with Him by our side. The Lord says to us, “For I know the plans I have for you . . . plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). Fixed your eyes on Him.