Twelve Spies | Devotion 2: No Blind Faith Here
I grew up in the country. We had a very, very long driveway and there was little traffic on our country road. During the summer before I turned 16, I was scheduled to take driver’s training. I had no fear of passing the written portion of that training, but getting behind the wheel and driving an automobile was a huge fear. It was not that I had not ridden in a car, or knew that other people my age were already driving. It was not the fact that my dad had been talking to me about proper methods of driving for several months; pointing out the ways to safely maneuver and control the car. It was the fact that I had never been behind the wheel before and would be the one in charge of that huge machine. I would be responsible for where it went, how fast it was going, and where it would start and stop. What would happen if I drove too fast, cut a corner too short, got too close to another car, pressed the brakes too hard (or not hard enough)? Most kids my age were anxious to drive, but it was terrifying to me.
Unlike many of my friends, I had never driven a riding lawn mower, a go-cart, or anything motorized, much less a car. I was not allowed to even start the car, until that summer. Then a few weeks before I began my driver’s class, my dad gave me the keys and said I could drive the car up and down the driveway. “Don’t go past the end of the driveway,” he said. My dad had complete confidence in me and knew I could do it, but I balked. What if my little brother was playing in the driveway (as he often did), or what if I did not stop and went into the road? My dad was not worried. He had given me lots of verbal instruction. He wanted me to trust him; to do this thing because even though I had my reservations, he had confidence in me, had prepared me, and knew I could do it.
In chapter thirteen of Numbers, twelve men are being called to check out the land that God had promised would be the new home for the Israelite nation. Moses was commissioning these very specific individuals (named in Scripture) and giving them detailed instructions to:
1. Check out the geography. Was it fertile or poor, forest or desert?
2. Check out the inhabitants. Were they strong or weak, battle-ready or not?
He did this because the Israelite people wanted to know these things. Despite the fact that God had been supplying everything they needed, they still wanted first-hand information. They would not blindly follow God’s leading.
One of the questions I have while reading this is, why do you people need spies to check out this place? Did God not promise this land to you? Have you not learned by now that, “Where God guides, He provides?” I love how Matthew Henry in his Commentary on the Whole Bible writes, “(The people) came to Moses, and said, ‘We will send men before us; and it was the fruit of their unbelief.’ They would not take God’s word that it was a good land, and that He would, without fail, put them in possession of it. They could not trust the pillar of cloud and fire to show them the way to it, but had a better opinion of their own politics than of God’s wisdom. How absurd was it for them to send to spy out a land which God himself had ‘spied’ out for them, to enquire the way into it when God himself had undertaken to show them the way!” Is that just like us humans? We need to see it to believe it.
Guess what? I made it up and down that driveway (not without my fears at first) and I have been driving for over 50 years now. My dad just wanted me to believe that I could do it because he had told me to do it. He did not want me to second guess him; his desire was for me to have confidence in his judgment.
So it is with our Heavenly Father. He wants us to have “blind faith,” so to speak. He is all-knowing and all-powerful. He says, “follow me,” a minimum of 20 times in the first four books of the New Testament.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your path straight.”