For 430 years the Children of Israel were enslaved in Egypt. (Ref: Exodus 12).
Finally the day arrives for them to step out of bondage and God instructs Moses (Exodus 33:11 – Read this one!!!) to send out his best leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel. Twelve representatives including Caleb and Joshua were sent on an expedition into the promised land of Canaan to see if it truly was a land “flowing with milk and honey”.
But if you read in Numbers 13 you can find that the twelve spies had conflicting reports.
Oh, they agreed that it was a land flowing with milk and honey indeed (verse 27), but 10 of the spies saw something that defeated them before they even began to fight (Verse 28). Their perspective made them victims instead of victors.
What did they see? They saw the people living there as powerful and fortified. Even ones that looked like giants!!!
The interesting thing is that the Lord had already told them that He had given them the land, that they would win this fight.
In verse 30 of Numbers 13 Caleb steps in to quiet the people and reassure them. “Let’s go at once to take the land, we can certainly conquer it!”. Caleb knew the Lord was with them and that He had removed His protection from them!
Joshua as well backed up Caleb’s good report and agreed that they could indeed be victorious. These two spies were full of courage and armed with the assurance that God CAN and WOULD perform what He had promised.
But again in verses 31 and 32, the other 10 spies spoke their unbelief and doubt and spread a BAD REPORT about the camp.
They even spoke of themselves as grasshoppers next to the giants of Canaan. Because of this they SAW themselves as grasshoppers, something that could be easily squashed by the giants in the land.
We see in Chapter 14 verse 11 that this angered God. We have to remember that these were the same people who had watched the Red Sea part and they safely crossed on dry land escaping their enemy. They also saw the Egyptians, their long time oppressors, swallowed up in the raging waters where they had just stood. They watched miracle after miracle, all at God’s Hand and yet they were doubting Him again.
Well God’s glorious presence showed up and
God was ready to wipe them all out at this point but Moses stepped in to intercede for the people’s lives.
Just think of that. One man stood in the gap for a nation of people and God in His great mercy listened. When we feel insignificant and are wondering how we can affect such enormous world events, we need to recall how powerful our words and prayers can be. Read on from verse 11 to see how this tremendous and compassionate man of God spoke to His Master and changed His mind.
But… because of their unbelief God did make this one caveat. No one who was 20 years or older would see the promised land, EXCEPT Caleb and Joshua. (Remember them, the two spies that had the GOOD REPORT.)
All of the spies had scouted out the promised land for forty days and the Lord told them that they and their descendants would wander in the wilderness for forty years. ( A year for each day scouting out the promised land.)
Under the leadership of Moses they wandered around the wilderness for forty years complaining and murmuring against God.
All the while Caleb and Joshua kept themselves stirred up and reminded of God’s promise to them. They spoke with their FAITH not their FEAR!!!
In fact in verse 24 of Numbers 14 God speaks of Caleb as a man that has a “different spirit”. He speaks of how Caleb is a different kind of man and that he had obeyed God fully. Caleb’s loyalty to God was recognized and so he was rewarded for it.
The ten other spies were struck down because of their disobedience and died. Of the original spies only Caleb and Joshua remained.
After 40 years in the wilderness Caleb and Joshua entered that promised land. They were strong, capable and took the giants that they had seen so many years before. Even at 85 years old they were as strong as when they entered the wilderness.
God’s faithfulness was evident as His people were faithful to Him.
This is a tremendous lesson for all of us.
Those who refused to believe and trust God’s promises died in the wilderness. They never crossed over into their promised land to inherit the blessings God had prepared for them.
Those who trusted the Lord, not only entered the promised land that flowed with milk and honey, but their descendants after them reaped the blessings of their obedience to God.
Obeying the Lord through His written Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit will take us into “our” promised land.
The Word of God is filled with instruction, reproof, correction and commandments we must follow.
These are not options for a born again believer of Christ. This is our book of life, penned by the Master Himself for our benefit.
And just as it was for Caleb and Joshua, the giants will be defeated before us and we will see the goodness of God here in the land of the living. (Psalm 27).
God is faithful!!!!!